According to Judy Lain, chief marketing officer, Wesgros, rugby sevens has definitely gained popularity over the recent years, pulling in large crowds coming to spectate.
Coralie van den Berg, general manager, World Rugby African Association, Rugby Africa, explains that increasingly more tournaments are being developed by unions, especially in Southern and East Africa in partnership with sponsors and broadcasters and, in turn, are contributing to the enhanced popularity of the game.
This was reiterated by Glen Clement Sinkamba, president, Zambia Rugby Union, in a stateting, “Our partnerships with other unions across Africa have started yielding results.”
Van den Berg says the Cape Town Sevens, which is part of the World Series, sells out in a couple of hours, attracting huge crowds, with smaller events across Africa attracting various crowd sizes.
The size of the crowd depends on how well the event is promoted and commercialised, according to Van den Berg where she stated that Southern Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe have the biggest fan base for sevens.
Further proof of this was with the success of the recent Zambia International Sevens in September at the Polo Club in Lusaka, according to Sinkamba.
The Safari Sevens tournament in Nairobi, Kenya, used to attract more than 20,000 spectators according to Van den Berg.
As for Uganda, Van den Berg says recently a sevens tournament between the Uganda Cranes and the French Military attracted over 10,000.
Van den Berg says a number of new sevens events have been launched in recent years in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Lesotho, all of which have been successful.
In December, 2017, the City of Cape Town hosted the South African leg of the HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series, which fed millions of Rands into Cape Towns economy.