Can squeaky clean Singapore use its ‘Family Sevens’ theme to surpass the Hong Kong Sevens booze-fest?
Organisers of the island state’s tournament are expecting 52,000 people this weekend, with at least 20 per cent of tickets being snapped up by families
Rugby fan Fraser Jamieson is looking forward to wearing his Scotsman in a kilt fancy dress costume and taking his two daughters to the Singapore Sevens this weekend.
He told Singapore media that the only time he expected to see his daughters at the National Stadium is “when they run out of money for food”. If it were the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, he might have substituted “food” with “booze”.
Not only that, but Jamieson said he and his mates would actually watch the rugby.
“Singapore is more family-oriented, while Hong Kong is more of a party and is pretty hard core. I probably don’t remember half of those 19 times I was there,” Jamieson was quoted as saying.
He and his kids will be among some 52,000 fans who are expected to attend what is being billed as the HSBC World Series’ “Family Sevens”.
This represents a 53 per cent increase over last year – with all tickets valid over two days – and 12,000 more than the capacity of the Hong Kong Stadium.
Just days earlier, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said that the Singapore Sevens had the potential to match the Hong Kong Sevens in terms of atmosphere and they will use families, rather than booze, to achieve their goal.
Few would dispute the fact that the atmosphere at the Hong Kong Stadium is unique and unmatched. Singapore, though, is making great strides to raise the popularity of its tournament by portraying a cleaner image – much like the city itself.
While tickets for the Hong Kong Sevens are for individuals and can be bought for each day or in three-day packages, the Singapore Sevens are offering a range of choices with families and friends in mind.
Family packages for both days for two adults and two youths (four to 18 years old) represent 20 per cent of the tickets sold so far, say organisers.
There are two family packages, the most expensive costing HK$1,000 (S$170), while there are also group tickets for four friends as well as individual tickets.
The family theme is supported by the appearances of three of the most popular Hasbro brands – The Transformers, Nerf and My Little Pony – as well as Strider Bikes and Spartan Singapore activities.
There will also be performances by The Superdudes at a FunZone created just for kids while parents can focus on the rugby.
Like in Hong Kong, there will be after-event music, with the famous Clarke Quay providing the stage while American band Village People, who have played in Hong Kong before and is famous for YMCA and In The Navy, will perform on the field.
“With off-pitch activities like the Music After 7s and other in-stadia offerings that appeal to fans of all ages, spectators can look forward to a complete family-friendly experience that goes beyond the sporting action,” said Melissa Ow, deputy chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board.
On the field, Singapore can expect to see a stronger line-up of players than two weeks ago in Hong Kong, where many of the leading countries fielded weaker sides to focus on the Commonwealth Games.
Another boost is the fact that this year there is a three-week gap between Hong Kong and Singapore, which means teams are likely to be in better form. Last year’s event was won by Canada with Kenya taking the 2016 title.