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Those who attended the Saracens vs. Newcastle Aviva English Premiership match at Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia on Saturday watched a professional match hampered by hot and humid weather that contributed to a slippery ball and numerous knock-ons. The temperature rose to 86 degrees (30 C) on an Indian summer's day.
The game received full media coverage in the U.K., particularly, because of the Premiership's long-term plans to try to tap into what it perceives as a lucrative USA market, potentially eager for top quality professional rugger. Last year, Saracens played London Irish in Red Bull Stadium, New Jersey, to a crowd of 14,000.
Crowd size - or lack of it - appeared prominently in the headlines of many of the British media's sport coverage; the stated attendance was slightly over 6,000 in an 18,000 seat pro soccer stadium. The Talen Energy venue has been home to a sell out New Zealand Maori vs. Eagles contest held at night. It also hosts the two-day Penn Mutual Insurance College Rugby Championship of women's and men' sevens.
One journalist posited a salient reason for the under attended match:
"Scheduling the game on a Saturday - the same day as college (American) football - didn't help but it has taken soccer (in America) decades to infiltrate a sporting society saturated with American football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey and the like."
The Aviva Premiership will return to the USA in 2019 with the two teams not yet chosen.
Saracens with Chris Wyles won 29-7.