HSBC Sevens World Series
IRB hails Sevens Series viewing figures
July 19, 2012
New Zealand were crowned 2011-12 HSBC Seven World Series champions at the final event in London © Getty Images
The International Rugby Board has welcomed record viewing figures for the HSBC Sevens World Series and hailed it as "an exciting time" for the shortened version of the game.
The 2011-12 Series, that saw New Zealand wrap up a 10th title ahead of Fiji and England, was shown in 152 territories in six continents with 31 different broadcasters serving up the best in Sevens action in 16 languages. As a result, the Series reached 374 million homes with an estimated global audience of 850 million people.
The figures mark a major upturn in popularity for a sport that is due to makes its Olympic debut at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. With the Series set to increase from nine to 12 rounds in the upcoming season, the hope is that the growth will continue.
"The 2012-13 Series is set to be even better in what promises to be a stellar year for Sevens that will see Argentina join the Series as a host, the inception of a first-ever IRB Women's Sevens Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in Moscow as the grand finale," IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said.
"Add to the mix that we will also be at the beginning of a new Olympic cycle, a cycle that will culminate in Rugby Sevens making its debut at Rio 2016, and it is clear that these are exceptionally exciting times for Rugby Sevens and the development of our sport around the world."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.