(ISN) – Singapore is the latest major global city to join the exciting line-up of host destinations for the World Rugby Sevens Series from 2015-16.
The new state-of-the-art national stadium will play host to the world’s top male sevens players ahead of the discipline’s Olympic Games debut at Rio 2016.
A major financial and tourism location, Singapore joins Vancouver, Sydney and Cape Town as a new location on the 10-stop Series within the next four-year cycle.
The announcement comes as rugby participation in Asia continues to grow with 445,000 men, women and children actively enjoying the sport, an increase of nearly one-third over four years.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The World Rugby Sevens Series continues to go 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.
“As a major tourism and business destination, Singapore’s inclusion on the Series is great news for fans and great news for rugby as the sport continues to experience record growth ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper added: “Asia has been at the heart of the rugby sevens success story and it is exciting to add another fantastic location and an incredible stadium to the stellar and expanded line-up of World Rugby Sevens Series host destinations from 2015-16.”
“I am sure Singapore, with its major event experience and passion, and superb new stadium, will become a fan and team favourite on the record-breaking World Rugby Sevens Series.”
Singapore’s inclusion follows a highly competitive tender process featuring 25 global locations with the successful Singapore Rugby Football Union and City of Singapore bid focusing on furthering the growth of rugby across Asia.
Singapore Rugby Union President Low Teo Ping said: “We truly believe that our event at the iconic national stadium has the potential to match the excitement surrounding current tournaments in the Series.
“Engaging rugby in Asia and growing the sport in Singapore is our prime vision for the tournament and the key associated events and community outreach as part of this tournament will be critical to the long-term sustainability of rugby as we strive to ignite passion in the next generation of players and fans in Singapore, Southeast Asia and ultimately across Asia.”
With qualification well underway for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series has been exceptionally competitive with England’s victory in the Tokyo Sevens at the weekend meaning that there are now just 29 standing points between England in 4th and South Africa in 1st with just four teams progressing to Rio 2016 from the Series.
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.