The International Rugby Board has announced details of the tender process for hosting the flagship Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 and IRB Sevens World Series rounds from 2015/16.
With interest expected to be unprecedented as Sevens continues to break into new markets and attract record attendance and viewing figures, member unions have been given until February 28, 2014 to formally express an interest to tender.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “These are exciting times for a sport that continues to enjoy strong growth in participation, profile, commercial and broadcast appeal around the world and Rugby Sevens has been an integral part of this.”
“Since the IOC voted to include Rugby Sevens on the Olympic Games programme we have experienced unprecedented interest from unions and cities across all continents wishing to host one of our major men’s and women’s properties.”
“International Rugby Sevens is truly competitive, showcasing great skill and speed to full, vibrant stadia and strong and ever growing global broadcast audiences and that is why we believe that Rugby Sevens will be a great fit for the Olympic Games and the Olympic Games will be great for Rugby.”
The deadline for tender submissions for Unions interested in hosting Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 is December 5, 2014 with the IRB Council selecting the winning bid at its May 2015 meeting. The deadline for formal tender submissions for hosting a Sevens World Series tournament is set for June 27, 2014 and the 2015/16 Series hosts will be selected by the IRB EXCO in October 2014.
The dual process follows a detailed strategic review of Rugby World Cup Sevens and the Sevens World Series hosting models and key overall considerations include growing hosting and participation opportunities for our 119 Member Unions, tournament format, increasing Sevens-related global commercial model values, and for the Series specifically, the number of events in the calendar.
Rugby World Cup Sevens has been the driving force for Sevens’ global outreach and the competition broke new ground in 2009 combining a 16-team women’s competition alongside the 24-team men’s competition, showcasing the increasing strength of Women’s Sevens on the world stage.
It was a format that was successfully repeated in Moscow 2013 with the IRB announcing last year that the next event would move to 2018 to sit within the middle of the Olympic cycle, providing the 40 participating teams with the optimum competition platform in the lead in to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Since the creation of the IRB Sevens World Series by the IRB in 1999, the grand-prix style event has been the stage for great entertainment, drama and incredible feats of skill with the likes of Kenya, Fiji, Samoa, Canada and Portugal mixing it with New Zealand, South Africa and England.
It has been a winning recipe for fans, broadcasters and sponsors and the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series accumulated over 4,500 hours of total airtime across 149 territories, a record television audience. Only eight years ago, that total airtime figure stood at just 300 hours.
Increasingly, interest at national and local government level is making the hosting of Rugby tournaments more accessible in both established and developing Rugby markets, with National Olympic Committees also significantly investing in Rugby Sevens as an Olympic sport.
About Rugby World Cup Sevens: Since its debut in 1993, Rugby World Cup Sevens has grown to become a major event on the global sporting calendar, proving a hit with broadcasters, sponsors and fans worldwide. The 2009 event in Dubai saw the introduction of a 16-team women’s competition running alongside the 24-team men’s competition for the first time. Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Russia was broadcast to 321 million homes in 159 territories. New Zealand is the current men’s and women’s champions. In 2013 the IRB Council confirmed the integration of the popular event within the middle of the Olympic cycle to provide a strong high performance pathway for teams around the world, ensuring optimum competitiveness at the Olympic Games.
About the HSBC Sevens World Series: The current HSBC Sevens World Series comprises nine tournaments with 16 teams competing in each over two or three days. The 2012/13 Series attracted a new record global television audience with 4,504 hours shown by 38 broadcasters to 390 million homes across 149 territories. Over 600,000 fans were in attendance across the nine events.
At the same time, online interest in the World Series has continued to grow, particularly among the world’s youth. Online highlights and other video attracted 2.5 million views across the season, while consumption of news, information and other entertainment on the IRB’s official Series website, www.irbsevens.com, attracted almost 10 million page views from a user base spanning 214 countries.
With 36% of that digital traffic consumed on mobile devices, the IRB’s continued investment in social media is also paying dividends for the game, and the Series. Integrated Sevens offerings across Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and other platforms are providing a considerable and growing resource for connecting the sport, the events, the IRB, its unions and players with legions of fans around the world.