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Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tickets in high demand
With the event about to celebrate its 40th staging, demand for tickets for Hong Kong’s famous Rugby Sevens tournament are in higher demand than ever before as new restrictions force banks and other sponsors to slash invites to one of the biggest events on the international sporting calendar.
The sellout, three-day competition, being held from 27th to 29th March, is hugely popular in the banking and corporate sector, with key industry conferences timed to coincide with next weekend’s tournament, each designed to attract financial managers from Europe, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand.
However, new rules are restricting corporate hosts ability to recycle box passes, enabling them to entertain potentially hundreds more guests than they had actually invited.
A crackdown on the practice for health and safety reasons and a new electronic ticketing ystem, meaning one pass, one entry, have, according to the London Financial Times left merchant banks including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup scrambling to prioritise their guest lists.
One senior sponsor told the Financial Times “we’ve gone through all sorts of pain over our invites.
“There is still a bunch of us thinking, hoping, the new system will collapse under pressure and we’ll all go back to normal.”
Senior bankers left trying to work out the most lucrative, or otherwise worthy, guests say they have been asked to more than halve the number of people they would expect to invite to the box.
Tickets and box entry are separate. Before, would-be guests could call their host, who came down with a box pass and then retrieved it for the next invitee. That allowed bankers and other box hosts to offer casual drop-by invites to scores of contacts.
Boxes start at $260,000 for a three-year contract. In spite of the fact few other events are held regularly at the ageing Hong Kong (So Kon Po) Stadium, just one box has come on the market in the past four years, underscoring the importance of entertaining clients at the Sevens.
While the event’s new ticketing brings the Hong Kong Sevens in line with other major global sporting events some are lamenting its discipline.
One sponsor’s event planning head told the Financial Times “around and there are a lot of very corporate, very rigid events - think about Wimbledon, or the US Open (but) Sevens in Hong Kong has always been unique and there’s a risk it is becoming a little less fun and a lot more serious.”
Antony Phillips, Head of Sponsorship at the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, the tournament organisers, said the changes were designed to stop overcrowding and that the HKRFU had received as many positive responses as negative ones.
Phillips added “people are looking carefully at the level of clients they are inviting.
“Some have said it is great because it gives them a reason to say no to people, too.”
Immediately after the Sevens, the Hong Kong Stadium’s pitch will be relaid – resulting in the venue being unavailable for use for several months. The new pitch is scheduled to be completed by September.
For more information go to www.hksevens.com/
8th December 2014 - HONG KONG FEARS SINGAPORE’S ADVANCE IN ATTRACTING REGIONAL SPORTING EVENTS
12th November 2014 - HONG KONG STADIUM PLAYING SURFACE TO BE REBUILT NEXT YEAR
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