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The television airing of the HSBC Sydney Men’s Sevens on Sunday showed a final in the stadium of half-empty seats. The question was why?
The answer, derived from empirical reasoning of the past three tournaments, Cape Town, Hamilton, and Sydney, indicate two factors: (1) when the home team is not in the final, attendance drops off, and (2) in the two, Down Under events, if Fiji are not in the final, the many thousands of Fijian fans do not attend.
In Cape Town, without the Blitzboks home side making it into the final, the South African fans displayed no interest in watching the gold medal final of Fiji versus USA. The crowds dwindled for the last match of the day.
In Hamilton, with Fiji in the final, the stadium in Hamilton was sufficiently filled, the crowd bolstered by the many thousands of Fijian fans who live in New Zealand or journeyed to New Zealand for the event. Their loyal supporters were rewarded with a victory, again, against the Eagles. But the New Zealand fans, disappointed that the All Blacks did not make the Gold round, left the stadium to the Fijians.
In Sydney, the Fijian side lost in the semis, and then fell to England in the bronze medal game. Without the thousands of Fijian enthusiasts in Australia attending, and without the home side Australian team in the last game, the stands were half filled/half empty for the final of New Zealand against the USA.
Standings To-Date (Four Tournaments)
New Zealand – 76
USA – 76
England – 57
South Africa – 55
Sevens Venue Movements – Ten Years
Since 2009, there have been significant changes to the HSBC World Rugby schedule, most meaningfully, the addition, subtraction, and in-country movements of the tournaments. Importantly, the series expanded from eight to ten events. History follows:
Vancouver and Singapore
Tokyo and Scotland
USA – San Diego to Las Vegas
South Africa – Port Elizabeth to Cape Town
New Zealand – Wellington to Hamilton
Australia – Gold Coast to Sydney
Dubai, Hong Kong, and London
Finally, Paris has replaced London as the final event of the series circuit.
USA Sevens in Las Vegas
The Eagles are tied for first place. Isn't it time American rugby fans came to watch the home team in Las Vegas? The three-day event is March 1,2, 3. For the details, the deals, the discounts, the party schedule, go to www.usasevens.com.