Sevens fans oblivious to the sport being played on the field need to start paying attention as organisers look to “transform” Wellington’s biggest party and make it more Olympic.
The centrepiece of Wellington’s sports and events calendar needed to change ahead of the rugby code’s debut at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, general manager Marty Donoghue told a Wellington City Council committee yesterday.
“We’re at a point when we need to transform.”
That move is being supported by veteran rugby commentator Keith Quinn, who says the party has overtaken the tournament.
After the meeting, Mr Donoghue – who has spent just three weeks in the tournament’s top job – said the idea was to still have the party and costumes but to put more emphasis on rugby.
A worthy aim, but good luck with that.
Increasing the rugby and family zones was a way to enhance the sport aspect, and potentially attract new audiences.
One small problem with that.
The family and rugby zones were both used at this year’s tournament, and tickets for the 2014 event have been the first in years not to sell out within minutes, with about 3000 still available yesterday.
No one wants to be in the nana section.
The move to focus on sport was backed by Quinn, who ranked the Hong Kong and Dubai events ahead of Wellington’s because they focused more on the rugby.
“The Wellington Sevens is very good, but it’s at its best on a sunny day on the second afternoon, when the crowd finally does focus in on the last stage of the semifinals and the various finals . . . Sometimes I have felt that the party has distracted the crowd from the event, the sports event.”
I think many who attend have the view that the rugby distracts the crowd from the party.