A record rugby crowd in Singapore is guaranteed this weekend with close to 30,000 spectators expected on each day of the upcoming two-day Singapore Sevens.
Tournament organiser Rugby Singapore announced yesterday that daily ticket sales had crossed the 25,000 mark. To meet the increased demand, it will release a few hundred more Category One tickets for seats on Level Four of the National Stadium which will go on sale on all channels today.
The Singapore Sevens is making a much-anticipated return to the sporting calendar after 10 years. This is the first of a four-year deal with World Rugby to host a leg of the prestigious HSBC Sevens World Series.
The original target of 26,500 fans for each day is now looking like a conservative figure, Rugby Singapore chairman Low Teo Ping told The Straits Times yesterday.
"The response from the public has been very encouraging and we could see crowds of 30,000 this weekend, which would be a record for the sport in Singapore."
The 2006 Cup final between Fiji and England was played in front of about 16,000 fans at the old National Stadium.
The new 55,000-seater stadium had been reconfigured to accommodate 30,000 for the Singapore Sevens. An additional 1,000 to 2,000 seats can be made available should the need arise, added Low.
"We have a state-of-the-art stadium, that is designed for different configurations, so we definitely have the capacity to welcome more spectators."
One reason for the strong interest is that the Republic has become an attractive alternative to the popular Hong Kong Sevens held last weekend.
The South China Morning Post reported last week that hotels near the stadium were not sold out for the first time, which executive director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners Michael Li attributed to the pull of the Singapore Sevens.
Noted Low: "This is the first year and the support has been fantastic. It's a great platform to build on and to make next year's event an even bigger one."
A total of 16 world-class teams, led by defending Sevens Series champions Fiji and powerhouses New Zealand and South Africa, will take to the field on Saturday.
Category Three tickets are sold out while those in Category One, Two and Four are still available.