Rugby authorities on Monday confirmed that ticket sales for the Hong Kong Sevens have already exceeded the total for the previous event in November, days ahead of the big kick off on Friday.
Speaking on RTHK's Hong Kong Today programme, Robbie McRobbie, CEO of the Hong Kong Rugby Union, said he was delighted that the union had hit its target of 30,000 tickets sold over the weekend. The Hong Kong Stadium can hold up to 40,000 spectators and tickets remain on sale.
McRobbie said about 20 percent of the tickets had so far gone to overseas spectators. Prior to the pandemic, typically about half of the fans in attendance came from outside Hong Kong.
"We're keen to see our overseas friends back in the stadium," McRobbie told RTHK's Janice Wong. "It certainly helps with the atmosphere and of course it helps to promote our city, which is a really important facet of what we're doing.
"Yes, it's nice to see them back. Not in the numbers that we saw in 2019 or before, but we're confident that that will come back next year."
With elite women's teams returning, McRobbie said it would be a packed three days of action.
"We're cramming it all in," McRobbie said. "I have to say you are getting good value for your ticket money this year. We've kept the prices the same but the days are much longer.
"With the 12 women's teams and the 16 men's teams, and we've got the mini showcase and the youth games back, they're packed days. I think anybody who can get through all three days from gate opening to gate closing deserves a medal by the end of the weekend."
Entertainment will come from the likes of famous Belgian Plastic Bertrand, Korea's DJ Soda and, at Friday's opening ceremony, Cantopop star Joyce Cheng.
The sevens returned in November after a three-year Covid hiatus, with far fewer overseas spectators than normal and Covid restrictions such as mask rules and use of the LeaveHomeSafe app still mandatory. The capacity of the stadium was also limited.
"We're delighted that we're holding the event this time free of restrictions, back to normality," McRobbie added.