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Police welcome improved crowd behaviour at Wellington Sevens
Police have praised improved crowd behaviour at the Wellington Sevens (7s Wellington) with fewer arrests and reduced alcohol related incidents than in previous years through the two day tournament (held on 6th and 7th February 2014).
However, crowd numbers at Westpac Stadium were markedly down on previous years with the event attracting a crowd of just 18,000 on both days.
In previous years, the 34,500 seat stadium has regularly sold out for 7s Wellington, sometimes in minutes, while last year the event drew 28,000 on day one and 30,000 on day two.
For this year’s event ticket sales were slow, forcing the event organiers to slash the cost of general tickets from $199 to $149 in October.
With drunken antics and alcohol related incidents being seen as a deterrent for crowds, this year’s event saw strict policing of both gate security and the Stadium's liquor licensing.
As a result, crowds have been praised for enjoying the rugby, with Westpac Stadium Chief Executive Shane Harmon saying crowd behaviour had been "more positive" and that the event had a "more relaxed environment ... compared to previous years."
Harmon added "one of the changes we have seen this year is a better percentage of people watching rugby than on the concourse.
“We've done what we wanted to achieve."
Wellington Police Inspector Terry van Dillen said the first day was "pretty quiet" with crowds well-behaved and few people hitting the bars early.
Van Dillen added "we are happy with how it's going - no issue at all."
Looking at bring crowds back to future editions of 7s Wellington, Harmon told Stuff.co.nz “we want to see a full stadium and next week we will look at what we can do to make it bigger and better next year.”
Now in its 16th year, 7s Wellington has established itself as a favourite of the HSBC Sevens World Series, mixing quality rugby with a unique festival atmosphere.
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