New Zealand must maximise leverage in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympics and should be riding the wave of the growing international popularity of Sevens Rugby, says New Zealand First Sports and Recreation spokesperson Andrew Williams.
The excitement and flair of the Hertz Sevens in Wellington this weekend is unprecedented as the biggest and best dress-up party for Sevens Rugby.
In 2009, the International Olympic Committee voted to include both men and women’s Rugby Sevens in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
“New Zealand needs to seize this opportunity to hammer home our pre-eminent position in Sevens Rugby, and we need to capitalise on international sponsorships.
“I understand it is one of the fastest growing sports in American Universities with sponsors seeing this as a marvellous new way to be part of the Olympics.”
Mr Williams says other countries have also boosted their numbers in Sevens rugby with an eye on the 2016 Olympics.
“The growth is in new countries which gives international brands more exposure. Apparently some big sponsorships are coming through New Zealand.
“Much of the audience popularity of Sevens Rugby can be attributed to the party atmosphere of the major tournaments in Hong Kong, Las Vegas and of course Wellington.
“This makes it a perfect fit with Rio de Janeiro‘s reputation as the carnival capital of the world.
“The Government and the New Zealand Rugby Football Union need to maximise every possible opportunity to leverage Sevens Rugby sponsorship and exposure for New Zealand in the lead up to the 2016 Olympics,” says Mr Williams.