With exactly one year to go, tickets have gone on sale for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco and fans can now start to plan for what promises to be a very special celebration of world-class sport.
And, with excitement building, organisers believe that the winning blend of an exciting new format, the presence of the world’s top men’s and women’s rugby sevens players, and an iconic host city, will make the three-day event one of the must-see attractions for domestic and international fans alike.
With the event already generating strong pre-sales, tickets are now on general sale at rwcsevens.com and are priced from just US$125 for a three-day pass as USA Rugby look to attract new fans to a sport that is already capturing hearts and minds within the sports-mad nation.
The event, hosted at the iconic AT&T Park (pictured above), home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, from 20-22 July, aims to take the sevens experience to a new level and give it a uniquely American flavour in a live sports market renowned for its innovative and engaging fan experience.
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The tournament will bring together the world’s top 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams for three days of intense competition. New Zealand will be trying to retain the 2013 men’s and women’s titles they won in Moscow, while Olympic Games gold medal winners Fiji (men) and Australia (women), among others, will be pushing them all the way.
A programme of official supporter tour packages for visiting international and domestic fans will be announced shortly and further details can be found by visiting rwcsevens.com.
With rugby sevens at the cutting edge of fan-experience, a new, innovative format has been introduced for the tournament ensuring that every single match is critical for teams looking to progress to the final stages.
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With sevens having made a spectacular debut at the Olympic Games at Rio 2016, and the ongoing success and growth of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series including the HSBC USA Sevens in Las Vegas every year, the sport has never enjoyed such a prominent global spotlight as it continues to grow beyond the traditional rugby heartlands.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “This is the day that sevens fans in the USA and around the world have been waiting for as the tickets for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 go on sale for the first time and they can start to plan their tournament experience.
“Through a competitive ticketing programme and a global broadcast platform, USA 2018 will give thousands of sports fans in the San Francisco Bay Area, all along the west coast of North America and around the world the opportunity to experience this thrilling, all-action sport up close and personal.
“Rugby sevens is going from strength to strength around the world with record participation figures, more men’s and women’s nations competing at the top level, record attendance numbers and ever-growing broadcast figures and I am sure that Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco will write another memorable chapter in the sevens success story.”
Underscoring the global nature of the event, it was also announed that AIG and San Francisco Travel Association will join DHL as global partners for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, while official supplier Gilbert will provide the official match ball for the touranment.
USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne said: “Today is a special landmark for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 as we are now engaging directly with the global rugby family and general public. We offer a warm welcome to all visitors to San Francisco and we are confident that you will leave knowing that you have been part of something special, a tournament that has connected with a new rugby frontier and one that has added to the sport’s reach and left its mark.
“Our goal is to deliver a spectacular Rugby World Cup Sevens that delivers a variety of ticket packages affordable for all visitors. And while spectators will come for the rugby, they will stay for everything else that the amazing city of San Francisco and its surrounding area has to offer. It really could be the rugby trip of a lifetime.”
Qualifying for the tournament kicked off earlier this year and with the identities of 15 men’s and 10 women's teams already known, anticipation is growing that RWC Sevens 2018 will provide yet another boost to the sport in what is an important growth market.
New format for RWC Sevens 2018
Three-day tournament (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
The 24 teams are seeded from one to 24 based on HSBC World Rugby Sevens World Series results (and additional criteria for the regional teams who did not compete at the series). The seeding criteria will be confirmed in October.
Teams who are seeded 9-24 play a round on Friday 20 July with the winners progressing to a round of 16 against the teams seeded one to eight and the losers going into the bowl competition.
The winners of the round of 16 progresses to the championships competition while the losers go into the challenge competition.
Then each competition is played with quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals.
The championship final will take place on Sunday late afternoon.
Two-day tournament (Friday and Saturday).
Same principle and format as for the men but with two competitions – championships and challenge (no qualification round or bronze competition).
The championship final will take place on Saturday evening.
Why this format?
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “The inclusion of rugby into the Olympic Games programme has been great for the sport in many ways and is now the pinnacle event for sevens. Equally, the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has given the shorter format of the game a profile and following never before seen.
“As a result of these success stories, there is an opportunity to examine what Rugby World Cup Sevens is and where this great tournament sits in the hearts and minds of players and fans around the world. We want to make sure it is a special event with its own identity that provides a unique experience to fans, teams and viewers, something different to what they see on the series or at the Olympics.
“With player welfare in mind, we have come up with this innovative, never-before-used format that allows for a fully integrated competition between men and women to be completed within three days. It provides a prime-time final for the women on Saturday night and the same for men on Sunday with every match being crucial along the way. This will provide the drama and excitement of a knock-out competition for all matches with no draws.
“The pre-event seeding, based on teams’ relative strength, should limit one-sided matches and ensure that all matches are spectacular with fewer predictable outcomes.”