FIJI’S success at the Rio Olympics will be shared throughout the region and remembered across the Pacific for years to come. In terms of tourism, the mere fact that Fiji played so well and in such a spectacular fashion would have drawn attention to sevens rugby and the country. With a viewership of billions of people worldwide, the Olympics has the potential to propel the abbreviated form of the game to new levels.
Fast and furious, sevens rugby is action-packed and thrilling, exactly the kind of sport that television audiences love. And it comes in bite-sized packages of between 16 to 22 minutes – suitable for schedulers to plan commercial breaks without disrupting the flow of the game and upsetting viewers. This is a tremendous opportunity for rugby to be marketed as a sport which can be played around the world at minimal cost.
The Olympic Games was just the platform to launch this sport to the world. It is, perhaps, the second most popular sporting event watched around the globe – surpassed only by the FIFA World Cup. Here alone there is tremendous potential for the Pacific to mount a series of advertising campaigns to draw visitors into the region where rugby sevens is so much more than a game. In Fiji, Tonga and Samoa it is a religion whose heroes are adored and worshipped by the masses. Already at least on Fijian tourism establishment has seized the opportunity to market itself as the training facility for sevens rugby teams, playing host to the national sides of Fiji and Spain.
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