The successful hosting of the HSBC Sevens Series (IRB7’s) in Nelson Mandela Bay over the last three years tipped Port Elizabeth as the frontrunner to renew the host city agreement with the South African Rugby Union (Saru) from 2015.
This follows after attendance figures at the iconic Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, nicknamed The Sunflower, increased from 36 000 in 2012 to 58 500 in 2013 – an increment of 63%.
Portfolio Committee Chairperson for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Nomamerica Soul said a letter was already forwarded to Saru to inform them that Nelson Mandela Bay is interested in renewing the host city agreement for another term.
“The success over the last couple of years boosted our changes to the extent that Saru has indicated that they will consider extending the contract without opening a bid process, if the NMBM is interested in retaining the event.
“We definitely are interested to do so as per the mayoral committee and council decisions earlier and already established a team to enter into further negotiations with Saru.
“The Executive Director is tasked to give us regular reports regarding the progress in this regard,” she said.
Tried and tested marketing and communication plans are already in place to bolster attendance figures even greater. A R20 drop in ticket prices for the North and South Stands (level 2) to R30 is another major incentive to draw more people to the fourth edition of the event on Saturday, 13 December and Sunday, 14 December.
The Blitzbokke will be defending their title against formidable opponents such as New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, England, Australia, France, Wales and others after winning the cup at home last year.
“We would like to encourage Nelson Mandela Bay residents to support the event in even greater numbers as we are fully aware that other cities are interested in hosting this event as it creates jobs and boost the economy,” Councillor Soul said.
Last year 700 temporary and permanent jobs were created during the tournament and this year it is expected that the total economic impact for the region will be in excess of R200 million.
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