TLA promoted the main event of The Rugby Weekend presented by AIG, which showcased Ireland and the two-time defending World Cup Champion New Zealand All Blacks. Held at historic Soldier Field in Chicago, IL on November 5, 2016, the match marked the first time that two Tier 1 Rugby Nations faced off in the United States. Ireland’s victory, 40-29, was its first against New Zealand in the team’s 111-year history, making the match an instant classic.
The friendly hosted 62,300 fans, an official sell out, and set a new attendance record for a rugby match played on US soil, surpassing the 61,500 in attendance for the USA vs. New Zealand Match on November 1, 2014. Ireland vs. New Zealand was broadcast by multiple television partners across the world including, but not limited to, NBC Sports in the United States, EIR Sport in Ireland, BT Sport in Great Britain, and SKY TV in New Zealand. The Match exceeded all goals in digital engagement, brand execution and awareness for all involved, from broadcast partners, to sponsors, to participants.
TLA, along with the event’s title sponsor, AIG, utilized the unique platform to garner worldwide viewership for the fastest growing team sport in the United States. In addition to advertising within and around Soldier Field, AIG hosted multiple branded activations across the city of Chicago, including a virtual reality experience and interactive games. Astellas also leveraged the event platform and joint marketing campaign to set a World Record for the most organ donor registrations at an event within an eight-hour period, which concluded with a Guinness Book of World Record representative bestowing the official award to Astellas during half-time. Citi Card sponsored the event’s official ticket pre-sale and Guinness sponsored the match’s Official FanFest, which included over 15,000 fans before kickoff. Additional sponsors of the match included Air New Zealand, Aer Lingus, Gatorade, Illinois Bone & Joint Institute, Jameson, McDonald’s, Vista Equity and Vodafone.