The All Blacks Rugby are likely to draw a much bigger crowd to FedEx Field in Washington DC for their test against the USA than they did for Bledisloe II at Eden Park, however USA Rugby CEO Ross Young says that selling out the gigantic 82,000-capacity ground could be out of line in these Covid-upset occasions.
The All Blacks have dared to the USA in the new past, rounding out the 61,500-capacity Soldier Field in Chicago in 2014 (USA) and Ireland (2016), and their re-visitation of rugby’s extraordinary “place where there is fresh new chances” will happen on Saturday, October 23, neighborhood time, seven days before the USA play Ireland in Las Vegas.
“The target we were looking for, the base target was between 30,000-40,000 for both, the All Blacks in DC and the Irish game in Vegas,” Young told Stuff.
“The American market, especially the American rugby market, has always historically been latecomers.
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The Delta variant is also on the rise in the US, although NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last month that the NFL season – which starts in September – should be back to full stadia this year, with more than 50 per cent of Americans already fully vaccinated.
However, while the All Blacks won’t have to observe a quarantine period when they land in the US, they will still have to observe “bubble protocols”, and Young says this will limit the sort of successful promotional work the players undertook in Chicago in the buildup to those 2014 and 2016 tests.
New Zealand’s latest lockdown and the ongoing travel restrictions around the world are another factor.
“Part of the issue is that when you look at some of the demographics of the previous All Blacks in the US, a lot of them [supporters] have come from Europe,” Young said.