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Asia

Festival-style events planned as World Rugby rebrands sevens series

Featured image credit: World Rugby

World Rugby has rebranded its Sevens World Series as HSBC SVNS, with the new-look competition to place a focus on festival-style events and immersive experiences for fans.

HSBC SVNS will get underway with an event in Dubai on December 2-3, before Cape Town plays host on December 9-10. Perth will then host a leg from January 26-28, with further events scheduled for Vancouver from February 23-25 and Los Angeles from March 2-3.

The series will then return to Asia with events in Hong Kong from April 5-7 and Singapore from May 3-5. The series will conclude in Madrid from May 31 to June 2.

World Rugby said the series has been launched as a “rugby event, festival and a must-attend experience”. The rebrand is designed to widen the appeal of rugby sevens and make it more relevant and accessible to younger, “leisure-hungry” audiences.

Twelve men’s and women’s teams will take part in each event during the series, which HSBC has agreed to continue supporting as title sponsor. World Rugby has also launched Destination SVNS, a campaign that will position the series as the “go-to destination for people looking for a great time”.

As well as rugby action, the events will offer music, food and wellbeing experiences, with each destination celebrating its local cuisine. A range of competitive and social sports will also be available at SVNS events, from non-contact rugby to functional fitness.

The competition format has also been revamped, with the top eight placed teams at the conclusion of the Singapore event securing their spot to compete in the new ‘winner takes all’ grand final in Madrid.

The Spanish capital will also host the relegation play-off competition between the teams ranked ninth to 12th in the SVNS series and the top four teams from the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series. The top four placed teams of this play-off will secure their place in the following year’s SVNS.

All seven rounds and the grand final will feature combined men’s and women’s competitions and equal participation fees, with a 70% uplift in World Rugby’s investment in participation fees.

World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said: “We are excited to be launching HSBC SVNS, the supercharged new identity for our Olympic format, with iconic destinations and a new concept on and off the field, broadening the reach and appeal of the sport beyond its traditional audiences.

“Our ambition is for SVNS to be at the forefront of our growth strategy, appealing to a younger, leisure-hungry audience. In eight iconic destinations played over seven months, we will bring together a truly immersive festival of rugby, music, food and experiences to create the ultimate weekend-long get together for young people, the hottest ticket and open a new era for the sport.

“For the first time in rugby sevens history, all locations will be unified under the same approach, meaning that the overall experience is the same and we can optimise commercial revenue for reinvestment, including playing our part in ensuring that sevens is a viable career path for the talented players and Olympians.”

World Rugby first unveiled plans to reimagine the series in November 2022.