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Professional rugby union coming to US in 2016, Canada 2017


nas1787

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Just announced today. The competition will consist of 6 American teams in 2016, based in "The Northeast, Rocky Mountains and California." Canadian teams will enter in 2017, likely Toronto and Vancouver. The competition will be called ProRugby (though I wouldn't be surprised to see a sponsor added in front of that).

Pretty exciting stuff, where do you see clubs based?

USA to launch six-team rugby union competition in 2016

ProRugby coming to North America – but Canada has to wait

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Yeah, this is awesome. I feel that this league will be heavily sponsored, because I'd love for this sport to become bigger in the U.S. I am seeing the teams being located in NYC (hopefully Sky, Orange, and Navy), Boston, Denver, LA, San Fransicsco, and possibly Salt Lake City. Although I'd love to see teams in Chicago, Columbus, and Austin.

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Who is fronting the $$$? World Rugby (through their marketing arm)? That press release was only a business plan.

They want to start in April, thus they've got lots of work to do very quickly.

The Fox Sports article outlines the financial issues. Essentially one rich guy with ties to PRO Rugby is fronting ALL the cash necessary for season 1. Obviously that's not sustainable as there will likely be heavy losses for years to come, so it will be interesting to see how they tackle this in the years ahead.

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Awesome. I will watch once Toronto has a club to root for. I suppose BMO Field will be destroyed now by TFC, Argos, & this new club. Mo money, mo problems. Or are they keeping fieldturf, I can't keep up any more.

How much support would a club need btw, for city sizes like Portland with MLS already in tow? Because I'd put one in Portland to start.

Toronto

Boston

New York

Philadelphia

Chicago

Kansas City

Vancouver

Seattle

Portland

Denver

San Jose

Los Angeles

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Who is fronting the $$$? World Rugby (through their marketing arm)? That press release was only a business plan.

They want to start in April, thus they've got lots of work to do very quickly.

The Fox Sports article outlines the financial issues. Essentially one rich guy with ties to PRO Rugby is fronting ALL the cash necessary for season 1. Obviously that's not sustainable as there will likely be heavy losses for years to come, so it will be interesting to see how they tackle this in the years ahead.

Two other rugby leagues have been promised to the US in the last four years and neither have played a game with one, the NRFL only taking people's money for tryouts every year.
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Let's see this thing set up franchises and a schedule before anyone gets excited. I think there have already been two attempts at pro Rugby League this decade in the U.S. that crashed and burned long before a single game was played.

EDIT: oh hey, dfwabel, 'sup

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Awesome. I will watch once Toronto has a club to root for. I suppose BMO Field will be destroyed now by TFC, Argos, & this new club. Mo money, mo problems. Or are they keeping fieldturf, I can't keep up any more.

How much support would a club need btw, for city sizes like Portland with MLS already in tow? Because I'd put one in Portland to start.

Toronto

Boston

New York

Philadelphia

Chicago

Kansas City

Vancouver

Seattle

Portland

Denver

San Jose

Los Angeles

San Francisco, Sacramento, Denver, and Philadelphia are reportedly locks as venues are contracted. So they want Salt Lake City/Provo and somewhere north of Philadelphia.

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Let's see this thing set up franchises and a schedule before anyone gets excited. I think there have already been two attempts at pro Rugby League this decade in the U.S. that crashed and burned long before a single game was played.

EDIT: oh hey, dfwabel, 'sup

We're these previous attempts Union or league? If union, did they have World Rugby backing? Would seem to make a big difference.

As for Portland, does it have a history of rugby support? It sure seems like they're targeting known markets, and I'm not sure Portland would fit the bill.

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Can't wait for the Canadian entries. Vancouver is a given as it is hosting a leg of the HSBC 7's World Series. Question is where do they play? BC Place could be the option in the 20,000 seat format they use for the Whitecaps, but that could be too big. Maybe Swangard Stadium would be better suited. Toronto is also a given at BMO Field as that is where Canada's games are usually played. The way I see it, Canada's teams could most likely be the Canadian Championship teams. They consist of the BC Bears, Prairie Wolfpack, Ontario Blues and Atlantic Rock. All have strong support and great players to draw from and would easily compete with the American teams.

As for the American teams, according to the Wikipedia page for the league, teams will be placed in the following places:

- Philadelphia (PPL Park)

- Sacramento (Bonney Field)

- San Francisco (Boxer Stadium) (Could be the San Francisco Golden Gate club that plays in USA Rugby's Elite Cup)

- Denver (Could be the Denver Barbarians club that plays in USA Rugby's Elite Cup)

- New York (Either Old Blue or NYAC who both play in USA Rugby's Elite Cup)

- TBA (my guess would be the Seattle Saracens)

If this league works, I'd like to see a TV contract happening as well. It would be great to have pro rugby in North America so players actually have a place to play rather then going over seas. It will be better for both the Canadian and American programs in the long run.

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Let's see this thing set up franchises and a schedule before anyone gets excited. I think there have already been two attempts at pro Rugby League this decade in the U.S. that crashed and burned long before a single game was played.

EDIT: oh hey, dfwabel, 'sup

We're these previous attempts Union or league? If union, did they have World Rugby backing? Would seem to make a big difference.

The NRFL is the latest ongoing Union attempt. They have held tryouts/combines for the past two or three years and promises of a league have been talked about since 2013. They have tried to raise capital through holding matches with their players from tryouts against actual English clubs, but they were not sanctioned by USA Rugby, thus they fell apart. USA Rugby calls it an insurance issue, but we know it is a shakedown for a cut of revenue.

There was to also be a match promoted by them between the Saracens and the Crusaders in New Orleans, but that was canceled as well. That game did have the blessing of USA Rugby, but the party line is that it was a turf issue (though ticket sales is more likely).

Secondly, a company named Grand Prix Entertainment has the US rights (through USA Rugby and World Rugby) for a Sevens league and broadcast rights. USA Rugby originally granted Grand Prix these rights back in 2005 with a six year window and a second six year window was approved. Grand Prix also secured the rights for Rugby League through their 2012 acquisition of something called AmNARL (American National Rugby League) which has the backing of both USA Rugby League and RLIF.

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Can't wait for the Canadian entries. Vancouver is a given as it is hosting a leg of the HSBC 7's World Series. Question is where do they play? BC Place could be the option in the 20,000 seat format they use for the Whitecaps, but that could be too big. Maybe Swangard Stadium would be better suited. Toronto is also a given at BMO Field as that is where Canada's games are usually played. The way I see it, Canada's teams could most likely be the Canadian Championship teams. They consist of the BC Bears, Prairie Wolfpack, Ontario Blues and Atlantic Rock. All have strong support and great players to draw from and would easily compete with the American teams.

As for the American teams, according to the Wikipedia page for the league, teams will be placed in the following places:

- Philadelphia (PPL Park)

- Sacramento (Bonney Field)

- San Francisco (Boxer Stadium) (Could be the San Francisco Golden Gate club that plays in USA Rugby's Elite Cup)

- Denver (Could be the Denver Barbarians club that plays in USA Rugby's Elite Cup)

- New York (Either Old Blue or NYAC who both play in USA Rugby's Elite Cup)

- TBA (my guess would be the Seattle Saracens)

If this league works, I'd like to see a TV contract happening as well. It would be great to have pro rugby in North America so players actually have a place to play rather then going over seas. It will be better for both the Canadian and American programs in the long run.

One of the articles I read clearly stated that these would be new professional franchises, not existing club teams, so I think the Championship and Elite Cup clubs are out. I'd imagine a Vancouver team would play out of Swangard. BMO certainly raises some issues too, with soccer, football and rugby all being played on a grass pitch? TFC fans were upset about the Argos coming, imagine this! I'd think a smaller venue would work better. In the past I've watched Canada play in Markham and at York, one of those might be an option.

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I love all styles of play, but only Rugby 7's has a real chance of garnering wide support in America.

The only problem with sevens (the only rugby code that I've really enjoyed watching) is the play format. Games are far too short to hold as single events. Would they hold tournaments in each of the team cities? I'm not sure that translates well to an American sports audience.

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