'Take it to the islands' - Sir Gordon Tietjens suggests overseas venue for Sevens after record low Wellington crowd


The future of one of New Zealand's biggest sporting events is looking bleak, with ticket sales for the Wellington Sevens tournament at a record low.

The New Zealand Rugby football union estimates 10,000 people went to the event each day over the weekend, compared to sell-out crowds in recent years.

Former All Black Sevens Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens, who now coaches Samoa, says the event should be taken off New Zealand completely.

"Take it to the islands, I'm sure they'd love it… take it somewhere they really see the value of having a sevens tournament in their country," he says.

He says the tournament has died out.

"To be truthful, it was sad really in some ways. There was just no atmosphere, just no people there," he told 1 NEWS.

"If you look back over the past few years, Wellington…. It was just really awesome to play.

"The whole team gets up when you're playing in front of a huge crowd like that. Not to have anyone there this year was sad, because it used to be a good tournament.

"This year I really noticed it."

Wellington mayor Justin Lester went to the tournament with his family and says the lack of people there was disappointing.

"Clearly ticket sales and attendance are disappointing," he said.

He says the council will now look at all the options and talk to NZR about the tournament's future.

"We've had 18 successful years of Sevens in Wellington. It's an iconic part of Wellington's history, the question is, is it a part of the city’s future?"

The WCC will also contribute to a review of the tournament, which is currently underway.  

Nigel Cass, NZR chief strategy operations officer, accepts not enough people came through the gates.

He won't say if the tournament is still financially viable and wouldn't comment on moving it to another venue.

"Nothing is ruled in, nothing is ruled out," he told 1 NEWS.

The tournament has been held in Wellington for 18 years, with two years left still on the Wellington contract.

When asked if they would look at cancelling the event in Wellington for next year, Mr Cass said they're not ruling it out and that a review would determine the decision.

The review outcome should be known by the end of March.

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