WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – America’s largest rugby sevens event, USA Sevens, is set to kick off in just two weeks at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. In years past, a relatively smaller USA Sevens would have been scheduled for a southern California locale, but a rise in attendance warranted a new venue.
When the rights to host an IRB HSBC Sevens World Series event were awarded to the U.S., the search for a stadium depended on the reliability of weather. The Home Depot Center (now The StubHub Center) in Carson, Calif., offered a favorable setting due to the area’s warm, dry climate. After spending three years (2007-2010) at Petco Park in San Diego, USA Sevens found its current home in Las Vegas.
Despite the Eagles’ results at USA Sevens, domestic fans flocked to the event each year. Once it moved to Las Vegas, attendance soared and has continued to grow annually. In 2010, the estimated attendance was 29,925. It rose to 32,050 the following year and more than doubled to 64,551 and 67,341 in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Adding to the event’s popularity was the national broadcast offered by NBC beginning in 2010. With Rugby Sevens added to the Olympic Program for the first time at Rio 2016, NBC’s coverage of the entire Sevens World Series has proved to be beneficial to the game.
“The growth of USA Sevens can be attributed to multiple factors, including the great rugby sevens action we’ve seen on the pitch, NBC’s continued commitment to broadcasting rugby live on national television, the atmosphere our team is fostering through Fan Festival elements inside and outside the stadium, and our amazing fans,” United World Sports President Jonathan First said.
“Overall, I’d say the biggest growth factor has to be the passionate and devoted fans who keep showing up in Las Vegas to support their home nation’s team while also creating one of the best atmospheres in sports at Sam Boyd Stadium.”