Surprisingly long lines awaited late arrivals to Saturday's Italy match at BBVA Compass stadium.
Many had purchased their tickets via Living Social, according to stadium personnel, and so had to collect their tickets at will call. From a management point of view, this was a 'success problem' borne of selling 17,000-odd tickets.
Social media, Groupon-style discounts, and the two-year-old ground itself are all part of the story. Even three years ago, the last time a European power came to the US, the dynamic did not exist.
Over the past decade, American society has regularly delivered game changers to rugby, ranging from purpose-built soccer stadia that are big enough for a rugby pitch but not so big as to be uneconomical, to webcasting that diminishes TV production costs, to the bevy of online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook that make it possible to create and amplify low-cost marketing.
Not to mention rugby's admission to the Summer Olympics, which has validated the sport as a mainstream endeavor, brought in new money and facilities from the US Olympic Committee, and created manifold television and advertising possibilities.
The upshot: American society is rushing toward rugby much faster and more powerfully than the best of the game's organic developments -- the USA 7s tournament and its derivative Collegiate Rugby Championship, college conferences, gym class curricula, and growing school-age competition -- are moving into the domestic sports community.
This is to be welcomed. The question is: How does rugby progress from tactical opportunism to a coherent strategy for economic development, one that is distinct from its rivals and achievable with still-modest resources?