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The New Zealand vs. Ireland international Test in Chicago generated an estimated high profit from the contest of more than $4 million. The match proved a greater monetary bonanza than the All Blacks' game against the Eagles (also in Chicago) in November 2014.
Specifically, attendance inside Soldier Field increased from 61,500 to 62,300, the slight increase coming from the surfeit of Irish supporters whose green jerseys packed this stadium. Additionally, it is approximated that more merchandise was sold than the prior November Eagle contest.
The estimated costs total about $2.75 million, projecting one million dollars guarantee to each team. Other costs included Soldier Field stadium rental, sales and marketing, and other operational charges. Lastly, a licensing fee paid to the USA Rugby organization. In total, these ancillary costs tally about $750,000.
Assuming that the average ticket was $100 (prices ranged from $35 to $270), if this number is near correct, then that generated $6.23 million in sales. Added on to the attendance tally is a net merchandising profit, probably, a percentage of sales that could be about $100,000. More dollars from the sale of up to 133 Soldier Field executive suites seats ranging in capacity from 14 to 40 people, as well as an all-inclusive Skyline Suite that holds up to 150. A guestimate is that these sales produced about $500,000 net. Finally, the sale to NBC Sports to televise the match, fee paid not known.
Since this exercise is merely to give a rough calculation, let's review the P & L. Approximately $7.0 million in net revenue offset by $2.75 million in costs makes for $4.25 million profit from the All Blacks and Ireland game, a generous payday for a one-day rugby event.
Again, as stated in a previous Rugby Today article, the elements mandatory to generate a similar high profit total are (1) two marquee rugby teams, (2) a USA stadium of 50,000 minimum, and (3) a city with a large population and rugby community.
Remember, Eagles vs. All Blacks at 61,500 attendance in a sold out Soldier Field but Eagles against Australia in the same venue only 15,000.
The future of these matches in America? Possibly, more scheduled Internationals among top teams in the lead up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. And why not? There's excellent money to be made by replicating the All Blacks-Ireland match.