The ground-breaking decision to schedule a home international against the strongest rugby team in the world, the All Blacks, already appears to have been a success. Well before it is known who will and who will not be available for the fixture there is a real possibility that the test match is going to be close to full or, indeed, a sell out. Having launched the sales process to the general public on Monday USA Rugby has stated that more than half of the 61,500-seat Soldier Field has been accounted for since ticket sales went on sale to the general public on Monday.
In quick time more than 30,000 tickets have been sold for the history making USA Eagles v New Zealand All Blacks fixture in Chicago. The match is to open the end of year European tours for both countries. In recent years the All Blacks have played a test outside of Europe before playing three or more in the old continent. The most recent example saw New Zealand facing Japan in Tokyo prior to facing France in Paris.
For the USA the fixture is a chance at enhancing the profile of the sport but there are concerns over the make-up of the team. Due to the date of the fixture not being friendly for the release of players based in Europe negotiations are going to need to be made to ensure a competitive team can face the world's best rugby team and current world champions.
The positive interest demonstrates thus far also bodes well for the future of rugby in the Americas, the last IRB defined region to be allocated a Rugby World Cup. Curtis Reed contends that it might help a U.S. bid to host a Rugby World Cup. Such a possibility is indeed realistic overtime with 2031 being a better option than 2023 due to a number of factors such as the lack of time to convert the USA Eagles into a Tier One side.