Rugby Sevens tournament returns with a bang
After three long years, the HSBC/Cathay Pacific Hong Kong 7s successfully returned to the Hong Kong Stadium from 4-6 November 2022, kickstarting the 12th edition of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
As the first leg on the calendar for 2022/23, there could be no better way to kick it off with over 65,000 local and overseas fans despite the 85% capacity limit due to social distancing regulations. The event was one of many firsts over the weekend – as Hong Kong hosted its first physical event in three years and was a breath of fresh air. Even on the pitch, it was something different as Australia claimed their first Hong Kong title since 1998 in a last-gasp victory in the final against Fiji.
We delivered a series of activation programmes alongside World Rugby and HSBC through the sun and rain. As was the theme that weekend, ticketing was fully digital for the first time and delivered through the HKRU ticketing app. The HSBC VIP Hospitality programme hosted guests in three corporate boxes in the Hong Kong Stadium and HSBC Hexagon Suite. HSBC guests were able to enjoy great food and drinks while vibing with the hair-raising Sevens atmosphere. Many were overjoyed as HSBC Rugby Ambassador Brian O’Driscoll was everywhere throughout the weekend interacting with guests.
We also organised ‘Money Can’t Buy’ experiences for VIP guests who went behind the scenes. It included a visit to the Tournament Control Tower, Media Centre, and HKRU hospitality box, ending with the Commentary Box Tour and a ‘Third Headset Experience’ giving guests a proper insight into live footage production.
Meanwhile, five lucky kids ran onto the field for their minute-of-fame as HSBC Ball Carriers for the final matches. Their name, age, and favourite team flashed on the in-stadium Big Screen as they did so.
There was also a series of virtual rugby-related quests in The HSBC Metaverse Stadium within the Sandbox to present an immersive and one-of-a-kind experience of the sport in the metaverse. These bespoke quests highlighted HSBC’s sponsorship of the Hong Kong Sevens and World Rugby Sevens Series, enlightening the Hong Kong community on the boundless potential of rugby. It introduced users of The Sandbox to the wide range of community-driven initiatives presented by HSBC.
Meanwhile, colleagues of HSBC enjoyed an exclusive event hosted by Noel Quinn, Group Chief Executive of HSBC. Colleagues from eight HSBC branches across Hong Kong were given HSBC-branded shirts to wear during the tournament week to get involved in HSBC’s partnerships.
Following on from Hong Kong, the elite of world rugby rolled into Dubai and fans were treated to the most memorable of experiences. World-class rugby, high quality entertainment, state of the art activations, and exquisite hospitality programs were just a snippet of what made up the 3-day festival of Rugby. From grass roots rugby to the best of the best, Dubai Rugby Sevens had a little bit of everything, with a sprinkling of stardust as Brian O Driscoll, Bryan Habana, Danielle Waterman, and Abby Gustaitis were on hand to engage and spend time with the public across the entire weekend.
The team were responsible for delivering an entire guest management system across the Hexagon Suite, with 632 guests attending the VIP experience over the weekend. We delivered and managed the Premier Lounge, with a total of 3694 guests attending. We saw 228 guests enjoying the HSBC Hot Seat in the grandstand, as well as managing the HSBC activation stand in HSBC Tower. On site, we were responsible for managing general admission ticketing distribution and process for HSBC, as well as all ground logistics e.g. transport, accommodation and dinners for HSBC senior leadership.
Employee engagement was another focus for us. One activation we initiated was for 2 employees and 10 friends to be picked up by our HSBC ambassadors in a limousine for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Instagrammable wall in the Premier Lounge returned, a ‘predict the score’ game was created, and we invited 21 expat kids along to our ‘HSBC Surprise & Delight Breakfast’ where we rewarded the most talented young players from the Dubai Exiles club to engage with our ambassadors.
Lastly, Bryan Habana and Danielle Waterman ran our ‘Young minds’ program, answering gruelling questions from the stars of tomorrow, giving insights into the industry of sport, and competing in some funny games.
This year, we created a local campaign with Ogilvy. A ‘campaignable’ approach to leverage the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series partnership, drive awareness and engagement levels through a pre-tournament, during-tournament and post-tournament activation campaign.
Another lovely touch was the HSBC Ball-Carriers program, where five lucky young children had the opportunity to run onto the field for their minute-of-fame in the knockout rounds of the professional games.