SPHERE OF INFLUENCE
CHICAGO 2014 AND 2016 With AIG on board as a major sponsor it was inevitable the All Blacks would end up playing a test in the US.
The insurance group wanted to show the US what the All Blacks could do. It was decided that any game had to be played at an iconic stadium and it had to be against the US Eagles. There would be no playing a World XV as was originally proposed.
The Chicago Bears were able to accommodate the test in early November and Soldier Field was sold out – 61,000 tickets – within hours of tickets going on sale.
The All Blacks returned two years later to play Ireland. Again tickets sold out immediately partly because there is such a strong Irish connection and population in Chicago.
DENVER? The All Blacks had all but agreed to play the Wallabies in Denver 2009. The city was trying to build itself as a sporting mecca and USA Rugby is based in Colorado.
But midway through the year the global recession bit hard and the promoter pulled out, sending the Bledisloe to Japan.
LONDON 2017 The All Blacks were looking for an extra fixture in November 2017 and while they had multiple o ers, they chose to take on the Barbarians at Twickenham in London. The game will celebrate the famous old club’s 130th anniversary.
BARCELONA? The prospect of playing Argentina at the world famous Nou Camp, the home of Barcelona Football Club, is one that the All Blacks would find hard to resist.
BERLIN? The All Blacks have had sports promoters try to take them to Berlin previously. The German capital has the infrastructure and stadia to appeal and rugby is a growing sport.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES? The UAE has an appetite for hosting major sports events and there has been speculation of late that the French are keen to take a game there soon and their preferred opponent would be the All Blacks.
HONG KONG 2008 AND 2010 After prolonged discussions with the Australian Rugby Union, agreement is reached that the All Blacks should play a fourth Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies on neutral territory in 2008.
Hong Kong is deemed the best venue and National Stadium sells out – 40,000 tickets quickly – with most of the tickets snapped up by ex-pat Kiwis and Aussies.
They return two years later under the same terms, but this time only 25,000 people turned up.
SHANGHAI? Is China, with its growing interest in sevens, going to become a major rugby market? Has a huge economy and the All Blacks could sell an incredible number of replica shirts there.
TOKYO 2009 AND 2013 All Blacks played Wallabies in fourth Bledisloe Cup clash of 2009 in front of 57,000 at the Olympic Stadium. They returned four years later to play Japan, winning 54-7 in front of 27,000 at the Prince Chichibu Stadium.
The All Blacks have already announced they will be playing Japan again in 2018 to help prepare them for the following year’s World Cup.