FMG Stadium Waikato will host the New Zealand leg of the series for the second time this weekend, 26 and 27 January. The event was secured for the city for two years through a partnership involving events company 37 South, New Zealand Rugby, and Hamilton City Council.
Next Friday evening’s Kick-off Carnival launch event will be held in Garden Place from 4.30pm to 6.30pm, and will feature music and cultural entertainment, food and drink giveaways (including a classic Kiwi sausage sizzle and ice cream), and a chance to meet some of the stars of the fast-paced Sevens rugby circuit. Mayor Andrew King will make a brief presentation to team members and colourful TV personality and proud Waikato product James McOnie will act as the MC.
“We wanted to mark the start of the Sevens weekend with a free and fun launch event, and give people a taste of what’s in store at FMG Stadium Waikato over the two days of the tournament,” says Sean Murray, the Council’s General Manager of Major Events and Venues.
“It’s important to us to give the teams, officials and supporters a warm welcome to Hamilton and we’ll do that in Garden Place on Friday night.
“As a city we’re really embracing this event and we’re rapt Hamilton is the only place in New Zealand where rugby fans can cheer on the All Black Sevens team in person.
“An added bonus for this year is the women’s Sevens Fast Four tournament, which will be the first time the Black Ferns Sevens team has competed in New Zealand,” Mr Murray says.
“This is the hottest ticket of the summer – and we’ve got a few double passes to the event to give away on Friday night.”
HSBC New Zealand Sevens General Manager Steve Dunbar says the stage was set for another great tournament in Hamilton.
"Our All Blacks Sevens team have started the HSBC World Sevens Series with some great results and to have our Black Ferns Sevens playing at home for the first time will be a special occasion,” Mr Dunbar says.
"All of the teams have expressed their excitement at returning to Hamilton and I'm sure the city will turn it on for another bumper crowd."
The Kick-off Carnival is open to all the city’s residents and visitors in Hamilton for events over the weekend.
The HSBC New Zealand Sevens will be a cashless event, with patrons using special wristbands to purchase items at the stadium. The launch event will provide ticketed patrons with a chance to collect and load credit to their wristbands before they head to the stadium to catch the action.
Claudelands – one of the city’s other premier event venues managed by Hamilton City Council’s H3 division – will host English electronic dance music legend Fatboy Slim on Friday, in another precursor event to the Sevens tournament.
Tickets for both events can be obtained from Ticketek.