The Eagles could be set for their best year financially if things go according to plan this summer and next November. In total the Eagles will be hosting four matches on U.S. soil, something that hasn’t happened for a long time. If all four of those matches do well than the Eagles could earn a major payday that will go towards securing their long term future.
It all begins in Houston this weekend when they take on Scotland at BBVA Compass Stadium. The last two years when the U.S. hosted Ireland and Italy they drew 20,181 and 17,214 fans respectively in the stadium. Both of those attendances are in the top three of all-time for the Eagles with the Ireland match being the top of the list. While you have to factor in costs of renting the facility, activities outside the stadium, free tickets, etc., it still would have given the team a nice payout. Especially if sponsors help cover some of the costs.
This year tickets sales seem to be lagging a big behind but it is still expected that close to 17-20,000 fans will once again show up. Only three levels of pricing are still available. Making the median price for a ticket at $40 and saying that U.S.A. Rugby only gets a third of the total attendance as profit (let’s say 5,000 fans), that is still $200,000. Given that the Eagles budget isn’t that high in the first place gaining that kind of money is a big deal. (NOTE: Figuring out how much a team makes from a match is a really a guessing game as they don’t like to release exact numbers.)
But it doesn’t stop there. The Eagles will be in Los Angeles the next week to play Japan at the StubHub Center. Last year the Eagles played Tonga in the same venue but to a very disappointing draw of only 7,000 people. Many of those fans came from the Tongan community in Southern California. The U.S. will draw some Japanese fans but will also need a strong showing from the local community this year to reach that. Our guess is that a similar number (maybe 10,000 if it’s a good day) show up. Maybe there will be a small profit out of that but most likely all proceeds will go to paying for the stadium.
The Eagles then close out their summer by taking on Canada in Sacramento at the new 8,000 seat Bonney Field. That match is already close to a sellout with the potential of more seats being added if needed. The average ticket price for that match is roughly $25. Because it is a smaller venue the overhead costs, especially rent, are going to be down meaning the Eagles get to take home a larger share of the take. Let’s say they get to take home half of the seats then they stand to make $100,000. Again, not a bad take.
Lastly the Eagles will play the All Blacks at Soldier Field in Chicago next November. This match is far more complicated from a financial standpoint with sponsors covering some of the match. That said, the All Blacks are also guaranteed a $1 million dollar payment to help with some of their costs. It is expected that this match will set a new attendance record for rugby in America with 40-60,000 fans attending. Again, much of this money will go to overhead but even if the Eagles can get a profit off a fourth of those attending (10,000 fans) at an average ticket price of $40 than they are set for $400,000.
Put it all together and the Eagles could stand to make half a million dollars this year. Like the note says above take this as just a rough estimate but even if the Eagles make some money in 2014 they can set themselves up to do nice things in a World Cup year next year. That means more domestic assemblies, possibly more matches in the lead-up, and more resources for players. It’s something that could help boost the program for the next few years. Even in the bigger picture outside of money, if everything goes well the Eagles could be looking at 100,000 fans attending one of their matches this year. That is progress.