July 31 - The International Rugby Board (IRB) has announced that global broadcast figures for the 2012-2013 HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series have risen by five per cent from last year, with a record 4,504 hours of total airtime across 149 territories.
In all, 38 broadcasters aired coverage to an estimated 390 million homes either via live, delayed live, repeats or the official 30-minute "IRB Sevens World" show, while in-flight coverage was increased and news bulletins carrying World Series footage reached over 240 million homes in 130 countries.
The 2012-2013 World Series saw nine tournaments taking place across five continents, kicking off in the Gold Coast in Australia back in October 2012, ahead of events in Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong and Scotland before the final tournament was staged at Twickenham in London in May
New Zealand were crowned Sevens World Series champions for a record 11th time in the tournament's 14-year history with former winners South Africa and Fiji finishing second and third respectively.
The New Zealand women's side also claimed the Sevens World Series title, while both the men's and women's sides completed a clean sweep and confirmed the Kiwis' dominance in the sport by becoming the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens champions in Moscow in June.
"The HSBC Sevens World Series has now firmly established itself in the sporting calendar among international broadcasters and also fans around the world, who generated a record 562,486 overall attendance across the nine rounds," said Bernard Lapasset, the IRB chairman.
"As an Olympic sport Sevens is now well on the road to Rio , attracting new athletes to rugby all the time from a variety of different backgrounds, and also new fans with its winning blend of skill, speed, competitive action and festival atmosphere."
Online consumption of official Series news and information also broke previous records this season.
The official IRB Sevens website attracted more than 9.1 million page views from a user base spanning 214 countries, with 36 per cent of traffic consumed on mobile devices, while usage and fan interaction across social media platforms are also reported to have increased.
In addition, IRB Sevens World, the official magazine show, was shown by 17 broadcasters, while online video highlights packages attracted 2.5 million views on the official website and the IRB Sevens YouTube channel.
"It is great to see the growth of the HSBC Sevens World Series - the sport itself is growing rapidly as 2016 draws nearer but to see that audiences are also following that trend is fantastic," said Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship and Events at HSBC.
"It is particularly pleasing to see new markets watching the sport too and we are looking forward to hopefully another record breaking season with even bigger audiences tuning in for 2013-14."
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