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PRO Rugby USA

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PRO Rugby USA

Postby olivier » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 15:40

NEW YORK – November 9, 2015 – For the first time, North American rugby union fans and players will have a professional league, the Professional Rugby Organization (PRO Rugby) announced today. Exclusively sanctioned by USA Rugby and World Rugby, competition will begin in April 2016 with six teams in major metropolitan areas in the Northeast, the Rocky Mountains and California. Venues and coaches will be announced starting this week with playing rosters to follow.

USA Rugby Chairman Bob Latham added, “As the fastest growing team sport in the USA, it is the time to have a sanctioned professional competition. We are very happy to partner with PRO Rugby in taking this step to popularize the game, to inspire Americans to fall in love with rugby, and to show the rugby world what American players can do.” 2017 will see the addition of Canadian-based teams, with Jim Dixon –GM Rugby Operations and Performance commenting, “Rugby Canada looks forward to working with Pro Rugby on sanctioning the competition in Canada for the 2017 season and beyond.”

“Rugby is a natural fit for our country,” said Doug Schoninger, PRO Rugby CEO. “Participation and interest in the sport is at an all-time high and the demand for a professional competition is clear.” In its inaugural year, the PRO Rugby 2016 season will feature 10 games per club and run from April – July in medium-size venues, allowing fans to connect with their teams, and build the sense of camaraderie and loyalty that the game is associated with. We look forward to working with the existing rugby community to provide a pathway for local players into the professional ranks, completing the pathway from youth player to professional.”

“We welcome North American teams into the international rugby family.” said World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper. “With PRO Rugby in place, US and Canadian players will be able to train year round and play in elite competition, something that has been sorely missing from rugby development in North America.”

“With the completion of the record-breaking 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, and the reintroduction of the sport into the 2016 Rio Olympics, now is the time to launch,” said Schoninger. “Professional rugby is a relatively young sport, with players, coaches and fans who are passionate about the game and the values of integrity, discipline, and respect that it inspires. A lot of people feel pro sports used to be a positive influence – it built character and provided role models, but not so much anymore. I believe that by adhering to rugby’s core beliefs, we can reclaim those lost sporting values and provide opportunity for a new generation of North American rugby players.”

ABOUT PRO RUGBY
The Professional Rugby Organization (PRO Rugby) is the official league for professional rugby union in North America, sanctioned by USA Rugby and World Rugby. Embracing the highest standards of play and character on and off the field, Pro Rugby champions the fastest-growing sport in North America and its all-inclusive nature as we attempt to “Raise Our Game.” For more information, "Like" PRO Rugby on Facebook.
Last edited by olivier on Fri, 05 Feb 2016, 16:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby olivier » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 15:44

So Six teams : Seattle (sure), Denver (sure), San Francisco (sure). What are the other three ? Salt Lake ? Los Angeles ? Sacramento ?

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby Buffalo » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 15:58

Most likely destinations to start off are San Jose, Sacramento, Denver, New York, Chicago and probably Philadelphia. Though I wouldn't be shocked if LA gets in over Sacramento. Or maybe they are waiting for LAFC to finish their stadium. Canadian teams mentioned for 2017 should be Toronto and Vancouver and I wouldn't be shocked if Houston joined in 2017. I'm actually pretty excited about this but I'm still tempering my hopes until I see the first kickoff. Hopefully the owners/investors are willing to deal with the financial burden for the first while. MLS was rough for a long time in the sports world but is now hitting its stride. TSN should pick up the righgs in Canada because they've done a great job with rugby this year IMO. I mean they've done a great job bringing the CFL back from the brink and c ok Ulf legitimize this league here. No idea who could be the American broadcaster.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby speculumfight » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 16:10

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby Buffalo » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 16:20

They are really going with Kezar Stadium over Avaya in San Jose? I guess San Francisco is a more marketable name and the league needs all the exposure they can get. I just thought for sure the Bay Area team would pair up with the Earthquakes from the start.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby jonny24 » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 17:19

I really hope this succeeds. It sounds so far like they're doing everything right. I'm trying not to get TOO hopeful.

TSN should pick this up. If not maybe there will an internet subscription package.
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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby Coloradoan » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 17:31

Buffalo wrote:They are really going with Kezar Stadium over Avaya in San Jose? I guess San Francisco is a more marketable name and the league needs all the exposure they can get. I just thought for sure the Bay Area team would pair up with the Earthquakes from the start.


SF isn't just a more marketable name, although that's definitely true too. Kezar is more centrally located in the Bay Area than Avaya is. Of the hotspots for rugby in the Bay, only East Palo Alto is closer to SJ. Pretty much the entire East Bay, Marin and of course the City itself are closer to Kezar.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby Coloradoan » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 17:32

jonny24 wrote:I really hope this succeeds. It sounds so far like they're doing everything right. I'm trying not to get TOO hopeful.

TSN should pick this up. If not maybe there will an internet subscription package.


I believe it will be streamed on USA Rugby's new online channel.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby olivier » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 18:15

I read Northwest instead of northeast. So this is a widely national league. Chicago is a definitive candidate.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby sk 88 » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 18:21

It seems like teams will be twinned: Sacremento & SF, Denver & SLC, Philadelphia & NYC.

That seems a good way to build rivalries and possibly reduce costs (is it cheaper to fly to NYC and stay in NE for a week to play Philly or do two trips?)

Wonder if they will continue like that, introducing Toronto & Montreal in one go or Houston & Dallas/AN other Texan team?

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby Buffalo » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 18:34

I'm thinking they'll be split three teams in the west and three in the East. Denver clubs already play against California clubs in the PRP so I doubt it's a big deal for them at a pro level. The East Coast is too big to give only two teams while also giving the Rocky Mountains two. If they are willing to field a team out of Kezar Stadium in San Francisco I'm sure there is a venue in Boston that can be found.

Montreal isn't going to get a team, at least for a long while. I could see them bringing in Toronto with Chicago and Vancouver with Seattle. Houston is a must have and Dallas is a likely expansion partner. Los Angeles will also need a team sooner rather than later.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby Coloradoan » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 18:38

sk 88 wrote:It seems like teams will be twinned: Sacremento & SF, Denver & SLC, Philadelphia & NYC.

That seems a good way to build rivalries and possibly reduce costs (is it cheaper to fly to NYC and stay in NE for a week to play Philly or do two trips?)

Wonder if they will continue like that, introducing Toronto & Montreal in one go or Houston & Dallas/AN other Texan team?


Seattle/Vancouver would be the most likely next one. Although pairing Denver and Salt Lake with each other is a bit of a stretch. It's 550 miles or nearly 8 hours driving between the two. They're quite isolated.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby speculumfight » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 18:49

Buffalo wrote:Los Angeles will also need a team sooner rather than later.

I don't think the PNC matches at Stub Hub were well attended. Maybe when the LAFC stadium is built in LA rugby matches will have a better turn out.
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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby speculumfight » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 18:57

The article from This is American Rugby now says the SF team will be playing at Boxer Stadium

http://www.thisisamericanrugby.com/2015/11/more-details-on-pro-rugby.html?spref=tw

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_Stadium
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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby sk 88 » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 18:59

Coloradoan wrote:
sk 88 wrote:It seems like teams will be twinned: Sacremento & SF, Denver & SLC, Philadelphia & NYC.

That seems a good way to build rivalries and possibly reduce costs (is it cheaper to fly to NYC and stay in NE for a week to play Philly or do two trips?)

Wonder if they will continue like that, introducing Toronto & Montreal in one go or Houston & Dallas/AN other Texan team?


Seattle/Vancouver would be the most likely next one. Although pairing Denver and Salt Lake with each other is a bit of a stretch. It's 550 miles or nearly 8 hours driving between the two. They're quite isolated.



Ah okay, I didn't really think it through much just looked at a few of the speculative posts.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby Buffalo » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 19:13

speculumfight wrote:The article from This is American Rugby now says the SF team will be playing at Boxer Stadium

http://www.thisisamericanrugby.com/2015/11/more-details-on-pro-rugby.html?spref=tw

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_Stadium


Nothing says pro rugby like a 3500 stadium in a city park. I know that San Francisco is the bigger and more attractive market and we've already discussed this here already but I'm really wondering why they didn't work something out with San Jose. Yes it's farther away from the rest of the Bay Area but the Earthquakes have been rumored for a while now to want to get into rugby and they have a new quality pro stadium with a seating capacity of 18k. MLS is doing well with San Jose being the only Bay Area team and San Jose has also taken well to the Sharks in the NHL so why couldn't rugby do the same. Unless of course there was no interest from the Earthquakes but that seems unlikely.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby Coloradoan » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 19:40

Buffalo wrote:I'm thinking they'll be split three teams in the west and three in the East. Denver clubs already play against California clubs in the PRP so I doubt it's a big deal for them at a pro level. The East Coast is too big to give only two teams while also giving the Rocky Mountains two. If they are willing to field a team out of Kezar Stadium in San Francisco I'm sure there is a venue in Boston that can be found.

Montreal isn't going to get a team, at least for a long while. I could see them bringing in Toronto with Chicago and Vancouver with Seattle. Houston is a must have and Dallas is a likely expansion partner. Los Angeles will also need a team sooner rather than later.


LA hasn't had an NFL team for 20 years. It's a shit sports market with tons of competing entertainment options. USA Rugby events have never been successful there. I would be disappointed if LA got a team and can probably think of 20 cities I'd rather see get a shot first.

Salt Lake is a much better market for a team. They have a booming youth, high school and college rugby scene, have held successful events like the Varsity Cup and JWRT and a relatively unsaturated sporting market (no NFL, no NHL, no MLB). I'd also say they are the most pivotal market for pro rugby's impact on American rugby overall. They and Northern California are basically 1A and 1B when it comes to producing high school talent and BYU is the best college rugby team in the US. Yet, when it comes to producing Eagles, they lag way behind California. In the most recent RWC squad, only Palamo and Moeakiola had any tie to Utah and I don't believe either played high school rugby there (Palamo is from the Sacramento area) whereas nearly half the squad had California ties. So obviously something is keeping the Utah players from carrying on to higher level honors. I believe the reason for this is because many of the Utah kids are Mormon. That means they go on a 2 year mission and don't finish college until they are about 25. Mormons, particularly at BYU, also tend to marry at fairly young ages so by the time they are out of college they have families to provide for. That means not messing around with amateur club rugby trying to pursue national honors and an outside chance at a pro contract. Amateur club rugby in Utah is also hard as they play most games against Colorado teams, requiring long travel for games. So from that angle, pro rugby could be huge in retaining these players in the game. Imagine how much better the US national team would be if there were double the number of Samu Manoas, Blaine Scullys and Danny Barretts competing for spots.

Buffalo wrote:
speculumfight wrote:The article from This is American Rugby now says the SF team will be playing at Boxer Stadium

http://www.thisisamericanrugby.com/2015/11/more-details-on-pro-rugby.html?spref=tw

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_Stadium


Nothing says pro rugby like a 3500 stadium in a city park. I know that San Francisco is the bigger and more attractive market and we've already discussed this here already but I'm really wondering why they didn't work something out with San Jose. Yes it's farther away from the rest of the Bay Area but the Earthquakes have been rumored for a while now to want to get into rugby and they have a new quality pro stadium with a seating capacity of 18k. MLS is doing well with San Jose being the only Bay Area team and San Jose has also taken well to the Sharks in the NHL so why couldn't rugby do the same. Unless of course there was no interest from the Earthquakes but that seems unlikely.


The Sharks have a good hardcore following, including yours truly, but they don't generate a ton of casual interest in the entire Bay Area the way they would if they were a SF team. Part of that may be that it's hockey in California, but I think the location allows them to be an afterthought for the rest of the Bay Area.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby Rowan » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 22:36

If they're good enough to play at World Cups, then why not in between?

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby thatrugbyguy » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 23:25

Well, it's finally happening. :thumbup:

A bit disappointed in the stadium choice for the San Francisco team, but doing some research there doesn't appear to be another suitable facility within that region. Would have preferred they used the new stadium in San Jose. Frankly, it just looks better. Denver will surely use the soccer stadium wouldn't they? I know they have the rugby ground at Glendale but it's only a small capacity. Sacramento at Bonny Field is a perfect fit, and Philadelphia playing at PPL great as well. Hope a decent TV deal comes out of this. Overall, exciting times ahead.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby thatrugbyguy » Mon, 09 Nov 2015, 23:29

Also, I know I'm thinking ahead, but if this thing does well enough is it possible along with Canada they would try and incorporate Mexico in the long run?

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby speculumfight » Tue, 10 Nov 2015, 00:02

thatrugbyguy wrote:Also, I know I'm thinking ahead, but if this thing does well enough is it possible along with Canada they would try and incorporate Mexico in the long run?

Yeah most reports talk about a Canadian team in 2017, just couldn't make it happen in 2016 for some reason. Mexico would be really interesting & would be beneficial for the region. If the North Americas 6 Nations is successful & Mexico gets stronger it would be cool to see them join
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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby Coloradoan » Tue, 10 Nov 2015, 00:12

I want to see Mexico succeed and do well, but it's so far in the future and there are so many obstacles. There is also no real precedent in any American sports league for Mexican teams. Every major sports league in the US, including MLS, has at least one Canadian team, with the exception of the NFL. And even the NFL has held regular season games in Toronto and there are periodic talks of the Bills moving to Toronto.

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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby speculumfight » Tue, 10 Nov 2015, 00:27

Coloradoan wrote:I want to see Mexico succeed and do well, but it's so far in the future and there are so many obstacles. There is also no real precedent in any American sports league for Mexican teams. Every major sports league in the US, including MLS, has at least one Canadian team, with the exception of the NFL. And even the NFL has held regular season games in Toronto and there are periodic talks of the Bills moving to Toronto.

Yeah, we're definitely talking years from now. FIFA wouldn't allow MLS or Liga MX to have a team in each others countries since there are already div 1 leagues. I don't think FIFA really likes that MLS has Canadian teams.
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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby victorsra » Tue, 10 Nov 2015, 00:30

There is also the issue of the venue for the final. If Chicago or Houston are not in the initial franchises, they could receive the final.
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Re: USA Rugby launch PRO

Postby speculumfight » Tue, 10 Nov 2015, 00:37

victorsra wrote:There is also the issue of the venue for the final. If Chicago or Houston are not in the initial franchises, they could receive the final.

I would hope the final will be at the home of the higher seed to make sure it is well attended but I see the argument of hosting it in a city they are looking to expand to
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