China To Host Lucrative ATP Finals-Style Rugby Sevens Tournament
China is to host the "richest ever rugby sevens tournament," with the top eight finishers from the '16-17 World Rugby Sevens Series to fight it out in the "Champion of Champions" in Shanghai in October, according to Josh Ye of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. The tournament, which is a "similar concept" to the eight-player ATP Finals in tennis, is "part of a push to grow rugby in the country." It "is hoped having the likes of Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand strut their stuff will help put the relatively unknown sport on the map." Event host Alisports VP Wei Quanming said, "On October 20 or late October, we will invite eight teams with the best records to Shanghai." Earlier in the year, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said that the tournament would feature the "highest ever prize money we have seen in sevens." Last October, the company invested $100M over 10 years with the aim of "attracting a million new players within five years." Wei said that Alisports, which is engaged in a long-term partnership with the Chinese Rugby Football Association, will "remain focused on growing the sport from the ground up despite leading off with a world-class tournament." He said, "Our main focus is still to develop home-grown stars" (SCMP, 7/17).