More than 40,000 Hong Kong residents will be hoping their names come out of the hat on Thursday when the ballot for the 4,000 public tickets is decided for next month’s Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.
The ballot opened on December 13 and, after a seven-week period of registration, ended on Monday with more then 40,000 applications having been received.
Hong Kong Rugby Football Union chairman Trevor Gregory said he was not surprised by the overwhelming response to the popular event, which takes place at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium from March 22 to 24.
“This just goes to prove there is strong demand for tickets to the Sevens,” Gregory said. “And all these [applications] are from local residents as only people with Hong Kong ID cards could register.
“This also shows the need for a larger stadium and we are pressing the government to ensure the new facility at Kai Tak will be a 55,000-seat [stadium] rather than the proposed 50,000. We can definitely fill a 55,000-seat stadium.”
Successful applicants will be given until February 22 to purchase their tickets. Any unredeemed tickets will be put back into the ballot.
This year’s Sevens will be the biggest ever with 28 teams taking part in a two-tier competition. The 15 core teams on the HSBC Sevens World Series, plus Hong Kong, the Asian sevens champions, will take part in the top tier competition, while 12 other teams will participate in the pre-qualification event to unearth the team that will play in the final qualifying tournament (London Sevens) for core-team status next season.