HSBC Canada Sevens

Rugby has a small but loyal fanbase in Canada, primarily in 15-a-side competitions. How would Canadians respond to a two-day Sevens tournament? How would the local market understand, enjoy, and ultimately attend a brand-new sporting experience?

After working closely with Rugby Canada to secure the Canadian stop on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, TORQUE was retained to create a brand narrative and marketing program for the event. To start, we identified four bespoke marketing initiatives targeting multiple audience segments:

  • Rugby Loyalists who feel dedicated to the sport;
  • Ex-Pats who could embrace the international competition;
  • Flag-Wavers who are overcome with Canadian pride;
  • And Social Enthusiasts, who yearn for unique experiences.

Over four years, tournament attendance has grown from 60,000 in 2015 to 80,000 in 2018, with premium hosting experiences selling out within 24 hours. The Canadian event earned the 2018 Tournament Award for the best stop on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, a distinction awarded by international players and staff. And the concept of Fancy Dress- the Sevens ritual of attending tournaments in elaborate costumes- has become Vancouver’s “Second Largest Costume Party” (after Halloween!)