Aviva Premiership Rugby is set to be transported across the Atlantic for the very first time later this season, with London Irish's home fixture against reigning champions Saracens on 12 March 2016 set to take place at the Red Bull Arena in New York rather than Reading's Madejski Stadium. The announcement comes four months after Sarries' proposed summer Hemisphere Cup meeting with the Canterbury Crusaders in New Orleans was unexpectedly cancelled.
Leicester Tigers were also due to travel to Philadelphia for a match against the NRFL Rough Riders in August, although that too was called off due to a lack of sanctioning from governing body USA Rugby.
Following the announcement from Premiership Rugby on 27 October, chief executive Mark McCafferty said: "This is a significant day in the history of Premiership Rugby and one that has taken a number of years and a lot of hard work to bring to fruition. Premiership Rugby is the most competitive league in world rugby with a fast-growing following outside England and we are delighted to stage a competitive match in the USA.
"There are ambitious plans to grow the game in the States and this is the latest stage in that strategy. I'd like to thank both London Irish for their support and vision in making this bold step as well as Saracens and our partners; The Legacy Agency Inc and USA Rugby. We firmly believe this will be a great success and will showcase live Aviva Premiership Rugby to a new audience."
London Irish's Bob Casey added: "This is an enormous opportunity for London Irish and a chance for our club to gain exposure in one of the biggest sporting cities in the world. The New York region has a significant Irish community and is renowned for its annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, so it's the perfect time for our club to venture into this market.
"Rugby is set for an exciting time with Rugby World Cup 2015 reaching its final stages, the inclusion of 7s in the 2016 Olympic Games, and now the first ever Aviva Premiership fixture in the USA. We are well placed to capitalise on these exceptional opportunities to create a lasting legacy for both rugby and London Irish. We intend to continue to be at the forefront of the development of the game in the USA."
Although many Irish supporters will no doubt be disappointed at missing out on a home match, the game was left out of their price package for the new campaign in a move akin to the annual London double-header that, this year, will take place at Twickenham on 28 November.