(ISN) – Cape Town will join the impressive line-up of iconic cities hosting a round of the World Rugby Sevens World Series from 2015-16.
The South Africa Sevens will relocate to the impressive Cape Town Stadium for the four-year cycle following a successful spell in Port Elizabeth. The move to a major international destination will enable more fans to watch the world’s top male players in action in an Olympic year.
Cape Town joins Vancouver and Sydney within a stellar line-up of new destinations, reflecting the significant appeal and attraction of rugby sevens to cities and nations worldwide.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “With excitement increasing ahead of Rio 2016, the World Rugby Sevens Series is going from strength to strength, proving a hit with fans, broadcasters and sponsors around the globe with its winning blend of compelling and competitive action, global destinations and festival atmosphere.
“The South Africa Sevens has been at the heart of the success story and we are delighted to be extending our partnership with SARU as a Series host. We have enjoyed 13 successful years at Port Elizabeth and George and the move to Cape Town reflects the ever-increasing interest and success of sevens in South Africa.
“Cape Town is one of the world’s iconic cities – a major tourism and sporting destination that has proven to be an exceptional and warm host. Its inclusion within a stellar World Rugby Sevens Series schedule is exciting for fans around the world.
“I am confident that the South Africa Sevens in Cape Town will inspire new audiences and participants and contribute to the continued strong growth of rugby in South Africa and around the world.”
Cape Town’s inclusion follows a highly competitive tender process featuring 25 global locations with the successful South African Rugby Union and Cape Town bid focusing on furthering South Africa’s commitment to sevens, which will make its Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016.
SARU CEO Jurie Roux said: “Cape Town is sports-mad and their crowds frequently top the attendance charts in SA and it is a rugby city. The Fan Walk to the stadium and the proximity of entertainment areas such as the V&A Waterfront are an added bonus and will capture and amplify the unique vibe of sevens rugby.”
With qualification well underway for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, South Africa lead the current HSBC Sevens World Series standings after five rounds. The last round in Las Vegas, won by Fiji, saw a location-record 75,000 fans attend over the course of the tournament.
The 2015-16 World Rugby Sevens Series will not clash with Rugby World Cup 2015 and will commence after the completion of the event, enabling the world’s best players to complete in the Series ahead of Rio 2016.
The 2013-14 HSBC Sevens World Series was a record-breaking success on and off the field, with 569,262 fans attending the nine events around the world.
Sevens’ commercial and broadcast appeal was further highlighted by another record season for television broadcast, with 4,590 hours of coverage achieved across 145 countries. Live, delayed live and highlights programming was aired in 12 languages across 34 channels, with an estimated 400 million homes and 900 million people reached.
For the first time, World Rugby also streamed every minute of the action live on its website, allowing fans to follow the action either on TV or online in every country in the world