Premiership Rugby Match In Philadelphia Fails To Reach Attendance Goal
Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty "put a brave face on a poor crowd" for the Newcastle vs. Saracens match in Philadelphia, saying, "Obviously we know the size of the task, and it's a big one," according to Martin Pengelly of the London GUARDIAN. The Talen Energy Stadium drew 6,271 fans, 12,000 short of its "modest Major League Soccer capacity." McCafferty said that the "challenge of filling such a ground, quite likely, although not certainly, to be the Talen," for the three years left of the American Series deal, was "exciting, in a way." The game "served to the American audience on Saturday was not, really." McCafferty said, "For this sort of stadium, I would say we would have to be [selling out] within a three-year period. Otherwise, something’s not right." It was "left unsaid" but in June, Premiership Rugby and its American partner, AEG Rugby, said that a '17 sell-out was "integral to the project." This week, a crowd of 10,000 was predicted. McCafferty: "We've got to find another 8,000 to 10,000 people who are going to follow rugby in the next 12 months." The teams to play the game next year have not yet been decided, though "some clubs have a bit more of a risk appetite than others" when it comes to moving a home game abroad (GUARDIAN, 9/17).