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Fans will get a chance to cheer on their favourite sevens rugby team in Hong Kong for the first time in three years. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

Local fans snap up 25,000 Hong Kong Sevens tickets with over 30,000 people set to attend kick-off

  • Hong Kong Rugby Union says it is ‘thrilled’ by number of sales, with organisers to also host 6,000 school students on first day
  • Event will still be subject to certain Covid-19 restrictions such as wearing masks and complying with vaccine pass requirements

Organisers of the Hong Kong Sevens on Thursday revealed they have sold more than 25,000 tickets locally with just one week to go before the launch of the major international rugby event, with over 30,000 fans set to attend the kick-off next Friday.

The Hong Kong Rugby Union, organiser of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, said it was “thrilled” by the number of sales. The sports organisation noted it had sold nearly 8,500 of the 10,000 tickets allocated for the public, in addition to the 16,500 already bought during the presales period.

“We are thrilled to have 25,000 paid spectators for what is the first mass event in Hong Kong since the pandemic, and are hopeful of selling out the remaining few tickets by kick-off,” said Robbie McRobbie, the union’s chief executive.

He added that he expected ticket sales would continue to increase as the opening day fast approached, with more than 30,000 fans to show up next Friday, including 6,000 school students hosted by the organisers.

The last time the major sporting event was held in the city in 2019, tickets were sold out at least one month before the games started, marking the 14th year in a row for such demand.

This year’s event only secured official approval on October 21 to sell food and beverages at the venue, which spectators could consume at their seats. Authorities previously said that fans could only drink at the three-day event, citing risks from Covid-19.

The Hong Kong Sevens, held for the first time in three years, was given the greenlight by the government in July. However, the highly anticipated sporting competition will still be subject to certain Covid-19 restrictions.

Spectators are required to use the risk-notification app “Leave Home Safe”, comply with vaccination requirements and wear masks when not eating or drinking. Hong Kong Stadium, the venue for the competition, will also have its 40,000 capacity capped at 85 per cent to about 34,000.

Hong Kong Rugby Union chief executive Robbie McRobbie is pleased with tickets sales so far. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Fans attending the event will need to present a negative rapid antigen test to enter, which venue staff will check at the entrance.

McRobbie noted the event typically sold around 40,000 tickets in previous years depending on stadium configuration, with almost half of attendees from overseas.

“Given we have sold nearly 25,000 tickets locally we have already exceeded our typical domestic sales of around 20,000. We remain very thankful to the spectators for their support,” he told the Post.

Hong Kong Sevens tickets selling well, officials hoping overseas fans come

Organisers have said that they were targeting a total attendance of 30,000 per day during the event, which will run from November 4 to 6.

The rugby union chief added the organiser was also selling single-day tickets for the first time at online booking platform Klook, with those for next Saturday and Sunday already sold out.

The Cultural, Sports and Tourism Bureau declined to comment on the matter when approached by the Post.

Beyond official sales avenues, tickets were also being sold second-hand on platforms such as Carousell. A Post reporter found four users selling a ticket for the November 4 opening session for as low as HK$350 on the site, less than half of the HK$1,010 price for a one-day ticket on Klook.

But the city’s rugby union warned that any tickets bought through unauthorised platforms would not be accepted.

From birth to Serevi to Covid, 45 years of firsts at the Hong Kong Sevens

Addressing the impact of travel restrictions on the game’s international demand, McRobbie said the relaxation in quarantine policies had come “a bit late” for overseas fans, who included long-haul visitors from places such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

He added that he was encouraged by messages from “long-time visitors and overseas travel partners” who were interested in returning to the city for the April session of the Hong Kong Sevens.

“For now, we are fully embracing November as a chance to show the world once again that the Hong Kong Sevens is up and running, and to offer an important opportunity for our community in Hong Kong to reunite for a bit of stress relief and enjoyment,” McRobbie said.

Hong Kong authorities recently relaxed the city’s strict quarantine requirements for arrivals, with the mandatory seven-day hotel isolation cut to three days on August 12. The government axed the need for hotel quarantine entirely on September 26, with visitors only needing to undergo a three-day health monitoring period with certain restrictions.