We’ve got plenty of our own issues in the American rugby landscape, but we should delight we are not Rugby Canada at the moment. Rugby Canada has just announced Halifax, Nova Scotia for the CANAM (USAvCAN) match on June 23. My thoughts on past Test site selection are well known (see recent attendance levels in San Antonio and Fullerton the past years), and there is a similar situation in Canada. The acceptance by both unions of mediocre attendance at our Tests is disappointing. We have seen attendance at MLR pre-season games of over 5,000 for club matches! Surely, our Test teams can draw more than the sub 2,000 that appears to be the new bar for attendance.
Canada chooses the ‘spread the games around’ approach, as we do… so this game gets played in Halifax. Canada got 16,000 to their URU match for ARC in Jan 2018 at BC Place… And, just as we do are playing small ball on the CANAM rivalry by putting this game in such a remote destination. We should propose holding our Tests in locations that fit into a business model w/ financial sustainability never again should a San Antonio debacle occur.
CANAM Rugby – A Festival Weekend Opportunity
In the future, I’d propose home and home CANAM’s each year featuring a weekend festival of all age grades and both sexes playing their ‘Tests’. The weekend would culminate in a Senior men’s game and have no less than 10,000 spectators in a specifically selected location. Canada should do the same. This would be growing the game, not arbitrarily sent to remote places in our geography. These festival weekends will take funding. A targeted marketing approach to this specific event and the development of a sincere CANAM rivalry across all grades and sexes will create commercial sustainability and success. Perhaps they could be played on patriotic weekends for both countries during the June and November test windows. The CANAM festival weekends will be events that sponsors on both sides of the border can activate.
Here is a quote from this article…
No matches were permitted on the field in 2017 and the pitch itself has been completely re-seeded. There are no stands at the site currently but when construction is complete it will have a capacity of 6,500, complete with concessions stands. The facility is also intended to be used as a home for a proposed semi-professional soccer franchise.
In the United States, when our Strategic/Commercial plans finally are initiated per the Bylaws we should consider only a few communities where Test matches are held. Perhaps this works into the RBEA Major Market concept. Regardless, let’s raise the standard for our CANAM rivalries. On the field, and in the budgets.
Other Articles I have written on this topic: