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Major League Rugby

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby thatrugbyguy » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 10:06

Vancouver and Ontario joining the same year means you have an automatic rivalry that can be sold to the public. So Vancouver, Ontario, NY, and possibly Kansas City for next year gets us 11 teams, you would think an even 12 would be desirable. Regardless, things are looking very good for this league if expansion is already in full swing. In fact you may as well call 2018 the trial season.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Working Class Rugger » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 10:17

thatrugbyguy wrote:Vancouver and Ontario joining the same year means you have an automatic rivalry that can be sold to the public. So Vancouver, Ontario, NY, and possibly Kansas City for next year gets us 11 teams, you would think an even 12 would be desirable. Regardless, things are looking very good for this league if expansion is already in full swing. In fact you may as well call 2018 the trial season.


You forgot Chicago who also have plans to enter in 2019. Apparently the eventually want to get to a 22 round season and that would be doable with 12. Though I think they should look at conferences first.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby thatrugbyguy » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 12:11

Right, so our full list by this time next year, granted things go smoothly, are Glendale, San Diego, Utah, New Orleans, Seattle, Austin, Houston, New York, Ontario, Vancouver, Kansas City and Chicago.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby sammo » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 13:01

thatrugbyguy wrote:Right, so our full list by this time next year, granted things go smoothly, are Glendale, San Diego, Utah, New Orleans, Seattle, Austin, Houston, New York, Ontario, Vancouver, Kansas City and Chicago.


The only one I'd add is Dallas, as far as I know Mike Ford is still with them so I'm assuming they plan on 2019 entry

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Buffalo » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 15:07

thatrugbyguy wrote:Vancouver and Ontario joining the same year means you have an automatic rivalry that can be sold to the public. So Vancouver, Ontario, NY, and possibly Kansas City for next year gets us 11 teams, you would think an even 12 would be desirable. Regardless, things are looking very good for this league if expansion is already in full swing. In fact you may as well call 2018 the trial season.


I don't see Vancouver RFC and the Arrows having a big rivalry though I suspect they'll be a larger crowd draw for each other just by being Canadian. Vancouver and Toronto are just so damn far apart it would be like if Seattle and New York were rivals. That being said Vancouver and Seattle will be a big rivalry for sure. And Ontario would be coming in with natural Great Lakes/North East rivals in Chicago and New York and maybe Boston. New York and Boston are usually paired with Toronto pro sports and would be be natural.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Suiram » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 15:53

Keep in mind that the league will see competition to join as a good thing. There may very well be more teams that want to join than MLR decides are spots. I expect during the year they will do some analysis and think about how many teams they want to join in a year. It may 5 be but it could also be 3, with 2 more for 2020.

Setting up a competitive process would make sense. It would require any team to present a business plan and competition plan as well as show stronger financial backing.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 17:01

sammo wrote:
thatrugbyguy wrote:Right, so our full list by this time next year, granted things go smoothly, are Glendale, San Diego, Utah, New Orleans, Seattle, Austin, Houston, New York, Ontario, Vancouver, Kansas City and Chicago.


The only one I'd add is Dallas, as far as I know Mike Ford is still with them so I'm assuming they plan on 2019 entry


Still there, and still a whole lot of nothing. What you see in Ontario, New York, and Boston are moves to establish a core squad now before entering in 2019. When the season starts I see Curry Hitchborn moving from his position with Seawolves to go full time with his appointment at Vancouver and begin assembling the squad. Mike Ford's Agent tried to drum up support to attempt to get him the Northhampton job.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby rusty_lock » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 17:27

Buffalo wrote:
thatrugbyguy wrote:Vancouver and Ontario joining the same year means you have an automatic rivalry that can be sold to the public. So Vancouver, Ontario, NY, and possibly Kansas City for next year gets us 11 teams, you would think an even 12 would be desirable. Regardless, things are looking very good for this league if expansion is already in full swing. In fact you may as well call 2018 the trial season.


I don't see Vancouver RFC and the Arrows having a big rivalry though I suspect they'll be a larger crowd draw for each other just by being Canadian. Vancouver and Toronto are just so damn far apart it would be like if Seattle and New York were rivals. That being said Vancouver and Seattle will be a big rivalry for sure. And Ontario would be coming in with natural Great Lakes/North East rivals in Chicago and New York and maybe Boston. New York and Boston are usually paired with Toronto pro sports and would be be natural.
I think Vancouver Toronto will be good rivalry as well as Vancouver Seattle.

You have to be a Vancouverite to understand the competitive feelings between the two. Whether it is Canucks Leafs or Whitecaps TFC or Lions Argos or even Grizzlies Raptors. It is kind of like Canada USA any competition between the two, regardless of sport, stir the emotions. Competitive ping pong would stir the civic rivalry between Van and TO. At least from the Vancouver side. MLS has shown Vancouver Seattle is highly competitive. They are seen as a derby match. 2 hours down the road... Very similar demographics... Both Vancouver and Seattle get great traveling fans when they play each other.

I'm hoping you are right that Sacramento gets a team as I now spend half the year in Central CA now. I can be in Sac in about 2 hours

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 19:45

As far as the possible expansion is concerned for the moment the three founding clubs that chose not to field a team, still have a seat a the table, those were:

Chicago Lions
KC Blues
Dallas Griffins (By all accounts, this is shady and quite possibly dead)

Then we know for a fact that James Kennedy of Murphy Kennedy Group will be running RCNY, in fact he was going to be the local partner for the Pro 12 side that was going to be that New York team. A lot of logistics work went down and well the Pro12 became the Pro 14 with with two South African Franchises.

Then we have the work with the Arrows being done, they did a proof of concept tour in the fall and are continuing that process. Still have a lot of hurdles to go through, but their schedule has a Boston Select side of some sort with, they were using the Mystic Logo, but it's not Mystic. There is a development of practice fields at Union Point being funded by a Boston RFC Old Boy. Also within that development will eventually be a 10,000 seat stadium. I do not see a Boston team appearing in 2019 as they won't be where they want to be. But 2020 is a certain possibility. Bob Kraft has also made it known that wherever AEG goes in Rugby, Kraft Sports will follow. So I wouldn't be surprised if you have a major investment group with Kraft Sports with a significant if not majority stake in a Boston team.

That gets us to Vancouver, which I personally confirmed with Hitchborn, this is a thing. Not sure if it's a full go in 2019 though, they have a lot of logistics work to do there when it comes to facility standards as I understand.

There was a French group with JB Gobelet exploring SF, but that is dead. Costs to enter the Market and the League's buy-in accelerating for year 1 entry. The Franchise Fee for Year 1 went from $600k to $2MM. There is another group exploring the SF Market that is local, but I'm pretty sure they don't like the costs are looking inland. I haven't heard anything about Sacramento specifically (local ties), but the same group of SF Folks has their eyes on the Tomato.

These are the expansion options I like the best (2019):

RCNY
Ontario Arrows
Chicago Lions
Vancouver RFC

2020:
Possibly a Los Angeles Team
Boston

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby 4N » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 20:05

The talent pool for 12+ teams isn't there, and I'm pretty sure you guys know that. Some of this is fantasy. No one wants to watch beer gut props from club rugby and fifth choice Irish backs.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 20:54

I think you max out at 12 for awhile.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby victorsra » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 21:10

Look at the Italian Eccellenza, Romanian SuperLiga, etc. For now I think 8 is enough. 10 and 12 are too much for something that needs time to be good.
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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Buffalo » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 22:16

Well I think ten teams is fairly manageable and think you lot are mistaken. Ontario Arrows and Vancouver RFC will be almost exclusively Canadian and that's a mostly untapped player pool for MLR with maybe a few imports. Then a 2nd California team based in San Jose or Sacramento should be easily doable with all the talent there. New York should be fairly strong even if they only use the talent presently in the city. That's ten teams without any real talent dilution except maybe Seattle being weakened if their Canadians head back home to play for Vancouver. Now whether there's enough talent right now to fill out Chicago, Kansas City and Boston I have no idea but I'm far from an expert on domestic America.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby cardiffrcm » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 22:28

Buffalo wrote:Well I think ten teams is fairly manageable and think you lot are mistaken. Ontario Arrows and Vancouver RFC will be almost exclusively Canadian and that's a mostly untapped player pool for MLR with maybe a few imports. Then a 2nd California team based in San Jose or Sacramento should be easily doable with all the talent there. New York should be fairly strong even if they only use the talent presently in the city. That's ten teams without any real talent dilution except maybe Seattle being weakened if their Canadians head back home to play for Vancouver. Now whether there's enough talent right now to fill out Chicago, Kansas City and Boston I have no idea but I'm far from an expert on domestic America.


Teams from Ontario, Vancouver, New York, Chicago, NorCal will all be drawing talent from areas yet untapped by the existing MLR Clubs. It would give the league, a well balanced geographic spread and would not dilute the standard within the league.

Teams created from the squads SFGG/Life West/OC and NYAC/Old Blue would be the match of any of the existing MLR Clubs.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby iul » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 22:44

If there isn't enough local talent they can open up more spots in the teams for foreigners. There's plenty of talent at that level in the PIs, Currie Cup, NPC, RFU Championship, etc...

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby thatrugbyguy » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 23:25

Not to mention talent south of the border. Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay etc.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Tue, 09 Jan 2018, 23:42

cardiffrcm wrote:Teams created from the squads SFGG/Life West/OC and NYAC/Old Blue would be the match of any of the existing MLR Clubs.

Not so fast, OB got bent over, twice by Glendale.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby thatrugbyguy » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 00:18

By the way, does MLR have any set goal as to number of teams they're looking for long term?

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Coloradoan » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 00:40

4N wrote:The talent pool for 12+ teams isn't there, and I'm pretty sure you guys know that. Some of this is fantasy. No one wants to watch beer gut props from club rugby and fifth choice Irish backs.


Aren't you all about the Toronto Wolfpack these days? Isn't the league equivalent of 5th choice Irish backs what they're all about?

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 00:41

thatrugbyguy wrote:By the way, does MLR have any set goal as to number of teams they're looking for long term?


Max Saturation of Leagues in North America tend to be about 30-32 teams. I think they're aim is to eventually have 24, I've heard it a few different ways. But our geography capital will allow the largest league in the world once we've grown the actual game itself.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby victorsra » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 01:20

If it is that easy to do a large professional league in North America, why only in 2018 the first step is being done? Come on. Step by step! Make sure the 8-teams league is a success in every sense before expansion. That is obviously basic.
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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby thatrugbyguy » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 01:47

TheStroBro wrote:Max Saturation of Leagues in North America tend to be about 30-32 teams. I think they're aim is to eventually have 24, I've heard it a few different ways. But our geography capital will allow the largest league in the world once we've grown the actual game itself.


US is unique in sport in terms of how many teams it can sustain. The question though is is it suitable for rugby? Even the largest rugby leagues around the world can only sustain about 16 teams. How does a 24 team format work for rugby that also has to accommodate several weeks of international play through out the season?

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Paula Bale » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 02:06

TheStroBro wrote:
thatrugbyguy wrote:By the way, does MLR have any set goal as to number of teams they're looking for long term?


Max Saturation of Leagues in North America tend to be about 30-32 teams. I think they're aim is to eventually have 24, I've heard it a few different ways. But our geography capital will allow the largest league in the world once we've grown the actual game itself.


If it were done on geographical size then Australia would have a 28-team league. But we all know the talent in the Australian game means they are contracting not expanding.

It would be daft for MLR to grow beyond its talent pool. Eight teams seems about right in the first few seasons, growing to 10-12 max after a few years so long as a few Canadian sides are included.

A diluted competition won't help the Eagles. Keep it concentrated to keep the standard high.

Exciting times. Really looking forward to seeing how MLR evolves.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby ruckovercdn » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 02:28

I think the other thing regarding talent pool questions is that if MLR can prove that it's stable, unlike PRO, then it can start to become a preferable option to the Championship or PRO D2. Even some guys at top tier sides who aren't getting game time may prefer to play closer to home and actually see the field.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby 4N » Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 02:35

Coloradoan wrote:
4N wrote:The talent pool for 12+ teams isn't there, and I'm pretty sure you guys know that. Some of this is fantasy. No one wants to watch beer gut props from club rugby and fifth choice Irish backs.


Aren't you all about the Toronto Wolfpack these days? Isn't the league equivalent of 5th choice Irish backs what they're all about?


That comparison seems like a stretch. They were third division last year so the talent pool is increasing as they get promoted. I know you don't really watch RL and find it "boring" like others on this thread, but players like Fuifui Moimoi and Ashton Sims (both forwards, granted) are well known. They have the money that they will have a top squad when they eventually reach Super League. Had they gone straight into SL they probably would already have done so, but the nature of proving that they belong alongside famous names like Wigan Warriors and St Helens is they have to show SL they are viable first. With crowds averaging 7k+ and widespread Toronto media coverage on their League 1 championship, they are off to a good start.

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