Sevens pre-sales go gangbusters
If you want tickets to Hamilton Rugby Sevens - you'd better get in quick.
After two days of pre-sales the grounds are more than half sold out in the best result the Sevens have had in years.
And with the success of the pre-sales, there may only be a few thousand tickets on offer to the general public.
Hamilton will host the New Zealand leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on February 3 and 4.
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The capacity for the tournament at FMG Stadium Waikato is 23,600.
The Sevens bid is fully funded by Hamilton event company 37 South, a private business, meaning no financial exposure for local ratepayers left gun shy after the V8s left the city out of pocket.
The Sevens had been held in Wellington for the past 18 years, but the event lacked charisma and audience for the final few years.
Tickets go on public sale on Wednesday, August 30, at midday, but eligible Hamilton ratepayers, Sevens, Chiefs and All Blacks supporters have been purchasing tickets fast in the pre-sale, which opened on Tuesday.
"We're excited the Sevens has moved to Hamilton and we're stoked to have had our best pre-sale in years," said New Zealand Sevens general manager Steve Dunbar.
"Our message to Hamiltonians and Sevens fans is to get in the pre-sale as soon as possible to secure your tickets to what is shaping up to be Hamilton's hottest summer event.
"We are strongly recommending that people get in the pre-sale, as at this rate there may not be many tickets left when we go on public sale."
Dallas Fisher, managing director of 37 South Events, who is partnering with NZR to run the New Zealand Sevens, said he's proud that Hamiltonians have bought into it.
"There have been a lot of people talking and giving comments about how magnificent it is that the Sevens are coming here, so it's great to see that translate into ticket sales.
"It's simply fantastic."
The event will be held over Waitangi weekend, whereas in Wellington it was hosted on a Friday and Saturday.
Dunbar said the Sydney Sevens is being held the weekend before the New Zealand leg and there must be at least a five-day gap between tournaments for player welfare reasons.
"Holding the event over a weekend is the norm for most Sevens tournaments held around the world and we think it's great as it makes it more accessible for families, generally speaking," Dunbar said.
Hamilton ratepayers have first dibs at getting tickets and can buy their tickets from sevens.co.nz. There is a special pre-sale code on the flyer attached to the rates invoice.