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Major League Rugby

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Working Class Rugger » Tue, 15 May 2018, 08:26

thatrugbyguy wrote:Things are moving very quickly. Washington weren't even on the list of potential expansion teams beyond next year. So, we've got New York for certain next year as well as Dallas, with Ontario almost certain to join too. Washington will make it 11 in 2020. We've got potentially Vancouver also.


James Kennedy who is the owner of the New York franchise had been hinting heavily at this for a while and there have been rumours beyond that for some time. Will be interesting to see which teams emerge next. Chicago are one of the originals. And I think Stro mentioned recently that they were quite close to being ready. So they could be next. There was brief mention of a group from Atlanta expressing interest and Mystic River RC are behind an effort to get things moving in the Boston area.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby NaBUru38 » Tue, 15 May 2018, 11:49

If I ran American football, I'd do some changes to make it a little more like rugby.

For example, no player changes or ball relocation on second and third down.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby snapper37 » Wed, 16 May 2018, 16:53

Working Class Rugger wrote:
thatrugbyguy wrote:Things are moving very quickly. Washington weren't even on the list of potential expansion teams beyond next year. So, we've got New York for certain next year as well as Dallas, with Ontario almost certain to join too. Washington will make it 11 in 2020. We've got potentially Vancouver also.


James Kennedy who is the owner of the New York franchise had been hinting heavily at this for a while and there have been rumours beyond that for some time. Will be interesting to see which teams emerge next. Chicago are one of the originals. And I think Stro mentioned recently that they were quite close to being ready. So they could be next. There was brief mention of a group from Atlanta expressing interest and Mystic River RC are behind an effort to get things moving in the Boston area.



There hasn't been any rumours on the ground about a Vancouver team. we can wish, but there hasn't been

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Working Class Rugger » Wed, 16 May 2018, 21:14

snapper37 wrote:
Working Class Rugger wrote:
thatrugbyguy wrote:Things are moving very quickly. Washington weren't even on the list of potential expansion teams beyond next year. So, we've got New York for certain next year as well as Dallas, with Ontario almost certain to join too. Washington will make it 11 in 2020. We've got potentially Vancouver also.


James Kennedy who is the owner of the New York franchise had been hinting heavily at this for a while and there have been rumours beyond that for some time. Will be interesting to see which teams emerge next. Chicago are one of the originals. And I think Stro mentioned recently that they were quite close to being ready. So they could be next. There was brief mention of a group from Atlanta expressing interest and Mystic River RC are behind an effort to get things moving in the Boston area.



There hasn't been any rumours on the ground about a Vancouver team. we can wish, but there hasn't been


All I know is their are apparently two groups. One lead by the owners of the Seawolves and the other by the BC Rugby Union. Neither like one another.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Wed, 16 May 2018, 21:42

Working Class Rugger wrote:

There hasn't been any rumours on the ground about a Vancouver team. we can wish, but there hasn't been


All I know is their are apparently two groups. One lead by the owners of the Seawolves and the other by the BC Rugby Union. Neither like one another. The only bid I know that is still open is Karl Harrison's.
Last edited by TheStroBro on Wed, 16 May 2018, 23:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Working Class Rugger » Wed, 16 May 2018, 21:54

TheStroBro wrote:
Working Class Rugger wrote:

There hasn't been any rumours on the ground about a Vancouver team. we can wish, but there hasn't been


All I know is their are apparently two groups. One lead by the owners of the Seawolves and the other by the BC Rugby Union. Neither like one another.
The only bid I know that is still open is Karl Harrison's.[/quote]

Good to know. Should make the path simpler without another group running interference.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby RugbyLiebe » Thu, 17 May 2018, 08:52

So how is the league doing attendance-wise? The warmup games apperently were well visited, how about the regular season?
How to grow rugby worldwide?
Look at the world ranking in July. Teams ranked 1-10 have to play one team from 11-20 (they don't play in a regular competition) away the next year. 11-20 play 21-30 away and so on. Yes, it really is that simple.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Working Class Rugger » Thu, 17 May 2018, 09:15

RugbyLiebe wrote:So how is the league doing attendance-wise? The warmup games apperently were well visited, how about the regular season?


It's averaging around 2500 at present but it looks like crowds are trending up in general. Seattle has no more available tickets for their remaining home fixture and now have an active wait list. Utah recorded around 2700 for their first game and a little over 4000 for their second. They registered their first win so that hopefully will mean at least as many next home game. SD had 1500 at their first home game and 2500 at their second. Houston's 2nd home game was larger than their first which was a little over 2000. Glendale's looked hard to judge and I haven't seen the figures from last week.

NOLA got somewhere between 1-1.2k. Hopefully, we'll see that grow as well. The biggest worry is Austin who only got 690 odd to their first home game. Granted the surrounding weather conditions were flash according to locals and it was on a Thursday night which could have impacted the turnout. However, apparently there's a disconnect with the team and the local Rugby community.

Regardless, if the crowd continue the trend the way they are an average of around 3k might be achievable by seasons end. Which isn't bad for what many are referring to as the matrix season or beta test.
Last edited by Working Class Rugger on Thu, 17 May 2018, 11:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby thatrugbyguy » Thu, 17 May 2018, 11:04

Things will hopefully improve next season when Houston and Nola have proper stadiums to play in. The news in Austin is troubling though, from what I've read the community hasn't been won over. I'm not sure what the issue is. Seattle, Utah and Glendale leading the way though.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby RugbyLiebe » Thu, 17 May 2018, 11:51

Working Class Rugger wrote:
RugbyLiebe wrote:So how is the league doing attendance-wise? The warmup games apperently were well visited, how about the regular season?


It's averaging around 2500 at present but it looks like crowds are trending up in general. Seattle has no more available tickets for their remaining home fixture and now have an active wait list. Utah recorded around 2700 for their first game and a little over 4000 for their second. They registered their first win so that hopefully will mean at least as many next home game. SD had 1500 at their first home game and 2500 at their second. Houston's 2nd home game was larger than their first which was a little over 2000. Glendale's looked hard to judge and I haven't seen the figures from last week.

NOLA got somewhere between 1-1.2k. Hopefully, we'll see that grow as well. The biggest worry is Austin who only got 690 off to their first home game. Granted the surrounding weather conditions were flash according to locals and it was on a Thursday night which could have impacted the turnout. However, apparently there's a disconnect with the team and the local Rugby community.

Regardless, if the crowd continue the trend the way they are an average of around 3k might be achievable by seasons end. Which isn't bad for what many are referring to as the matrix season or beta test.


That's impressive. According to this article, Pro Rugby calculated a break even at 3k average. Sounds like they are on track!
http://www.thisisamericanrugby.com/2016 ... eport.html
How to grow rugby worldwide?
Look at the world ranking in July. Teams ranked 1-10 have to play one team from 11-20 (they don't play in a regular competition) away the next year. 11-20 play 21-30 away and so on. Yes, it really is that simple.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby iul » Thu, 17 May 2018, 12:01

also, MLR has much smaller player salaries than PRO

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Thu, 17 May 2018, 14:19

iul wrote:also, MLR has much smaller player salaries than PRO

Well...giving several years retired marquee salaries wasn't smart either.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby iul » Thu, 17 May 2018, 14:24

TheStroBro wrote:
iul wrote:also, MLR has much smaller player salaries than PRO

Well...giving several years retired marquee salaries wasn't smart either.

Maybe, but even excluding those PRO players' salaries were almost twice as large.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Thu, 17 May 2018, 15:51

iul wrote:
TheStroBro wrote:
iul wrote:also, MLR has much smaller player salaries than PRO

Well...giving several years retired marquee salaries wasn't smart either.

Maybe, but even excluding those PRO players' salaries were almost twice as large.

On paper...but the payments were over 12 months in a league year of April to April...and everyone stopped getting paid in August. There were also match fee guys, so I really don't think his $1MM salary cap was real.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby iul » Thu, 17 May 2018, 15:56

TheStroBro wrote:
iul wrote:
TheStroBro wrote:
iul wrote:also, MLR has much smaller player salaries than PRO

Well...giving several years retired marquee salaries wasn't smart either.

Maybe, but even excluding those PRO players' salaries were almost twice as large.

On paper...but the payments were over 12 months in a league year of April to April...and everyone stopped getting paid in August. There were also match fee guys, so I really don't think his $1MM salary cap was real.

My point was that PRO was expecting to break even on crowds of 3k, with expected salary expenses twice as high as the ones of MLR, which means MLR would likely break even with even smaller crowds.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Suiram » Thu, 17 May 2018, 16:28

I could see a Chicago announcement happening in alignment with the build up to The Rugby Weekend in November. That would be the right time to capture attention in local media write ups as each paper / news channel does their "What the heck is rugby?" puff piece.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Tobar » Thu, 17 May 2018, 16:50

iul wrote:
TheStroBro wrote:
iul wrote:
TheStroBro wrote:
iul wrote:also, MLR has much smaller player salaries than PRO

Well...giving several years retired marquee salaries wasn't smart either.

Maybe, but even excluding those PRO players' salaries were almost twice as large.

On paper...but the payments were over 12 months in a league year of April to April...and everyone stopped getting paid in August. There were also match fee guys, so I really don't think his $1MM salary cap was real.

My point was that PRO was expecting to break even on crowds of 3k, with expected salary expenses twice as high as the ones of MLR, which means MLR would likely break even with even smaller crowds.


Important to note that some players are paid “off the books” so it doesn’t count towards the salary cap. For example, player coaches, academy coaches, strength and condition coaches, etc. Their non-player job doesn’t count towards the salary cap but still get paid.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Coloradoan » Thu, 17 May 2018, 17:25

I think there are too many differences between PRO and MLR to really know what breakeven is even if you take the 3k comment at face value. Was the 3k breakeven based on a marketing budget of basically zero? Did it include stadium rentals, which some teams in MLR have and some teams don't. Even within PRO, it could be wildly different this year based on the vastly different preseason schedules some teams had.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Blurandski » Thu, 17 May 2018, 21:16

Coloradoan wrote:I think there are too many differences between PRO and MLR to really know what breakeven is even if you take the 3k comment at face value. Was the 3k breakeven based on a marketing budget of basically zero? Did it include stadium rentals, which some teams in MLR have and some teams don't. Even within PRO, it could be wildly different this year based on the vastly different preseason schedules some teams had.


Plus the production costs of 3 games a week. At 3,000 average attendance, at $20 a ticket ($240,000) it just about covers the entirety of the salary cap.

Considering that they're only getting some of the ad revenue for the TV games, I doubt that TV money will come to much. Going at $100 a ticket for flight costs (avg. for Seattle to Denver), with 35 fliers per team, sharing 18 hotel rooms (@$50ea) you get each game costing ~$8000 in travel (likely on the low end), which is another $32,000 in costs per team. I can't find any figures on sports production costs, so I'll go with $5,000 per game, toting up to $20k a season. Marketing manager full-time would be somewhere near $40k per team. That brings each team up to about $350k. Then you need to consider things such as stadium rental and coaching. All-in the total cost per team is probably somewhere in the $450k to $600k range this season (I'm very happy to be set straight on any facts and figures). That comes to about $137,500 per home game that would need to be taken.

From TV broadcasts a lot of merch seems to have been shifted, so we could go with $25 dollars as the per person take ($20 for the ticket, plus food, drinks, merch). That comes out to 5,500 as a rough figure needed for teams to break even. So Seattle and Utah may not be that far away, and lose significantly south of $150k in their first season, which really is amazing going. SD is charging $30 a ticket should be somewhere around a $250k loss, Glendale, Houston $300k, NOLA $400k, with Austin probably at the $500k mark (assuming a $550k total expenditure). Anywhere near making half your expenditure back in ticket and merch sales in your first year is very good going. However of course, the bottom line is not the only way to measure the profitability of a club, ultimately the increase in value can be offset against losses. Seeing as the franchise fee is rumoured to have increased, the value of the 7 originals have probably gone up by slightly more, hence the net worth of Seattle/Utah/SDL and possibly Glendale and Houston may have increased.

However excluding that funny business for an operating profit I'd look at about 5,500 average for MLR.
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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby 4N » Thu, 17 May 2018, 21:23

Blurandski wrote:
Coloradoan wrote:I think there are too many differences between PRO and MLR to really know what breakeven is even if you take the 3k comment at face value. Was the 3k breakeven based on a marketing budget of basically zero? Did it include stadium rentals, which some teams in MLR have and some teams don't. Even within PRO, it could be wildly different this year based on the vastly different preseason schedules some teams had.


Plus the production costs of 3 games a week. At 3,000 average attendance, at $20 a ticket ($240,000) it just about covers the entirety of the salary cap.

Considering that they're only getting some of the ad revenue for the TV games, I doubt that TV money will come to much. Going at $100 a ticket for flight costs (avg. for Seattle to Denver), with 35 fliers per team, sharing 18 hotel rooms (@$50ea) you get each game costing ~$8000 in travel (likely on the low end), which is another $32,000 in costs per team. I can't find any figures on sports production costs, so I'll go with $5,000 per game, toting up to $20k a season. Marketing manager full-time would be somewhere near $40k per team. That brings each team up to about $350k. Then you need to consider things such as stadium rental and coaching. All-in the total cost per team is probably somewhere in the $450k to $600k range this season (I'm very happy to be set straight on any facts and figures). That comes to about $137,500 per home game that would need to be taken.

From TV broadcasts a lot of merch seems to have been shifted, so we could go with $25 dollars as the per person take ($20 for the ticket, plus food, drinks, merch). That comes out to 5,500 as a rough figure needed for teams to break even. So Seattle and Utah may not be that far away, and lose significantly south of $150k in their first season, which really is amazing going. SD is charging $30 a ticket should be somewhere around a $250k loss, Glendale, Houston $300k, NOLA $400k, with Austin probably at the $500k mark. Anywhere near making half your expenditure back in ticket and merch sales in your first year is very good going.

For a break-even figure I'd look at about 5,500 average for MLR.


Not gonna lie. This is a pretty good post. Saved!

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby iul » Thu, 17 May 2018, 21:27

I forgot PRO also had more home games per team. 6 instead of 4.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby TheStroBro » Thu, 17 May 2018, 23:16

Blurandski wrote:
Coloradoan wrote:I think there are too many differences between PRO and MLR to really know what breakeven is even if you take the 3k comment at face value. Was the 3k breakeven based on a marketing budget of basically zero? Did it include stadium rentals, which some teams in MLR have and some teams don't. Even within PRO, it could be wildly different this year based on the vastly different preseason schedules some teams had.


Plus the production costs of 3 games a week. At 3,000 average attendance, at $20 a ticket ($240,000) it just about covers the entirety of the salary cap.

Considering that they're only getting some of the ad revenue for the TV games, I doubt that TV money will come to much. Going at $100 a ticket for flight costs (avg. for Seattle to Denver), with 35 fliers per team, sharing 18 hotel rooms (@$50ea) you get each game costing ~$8000 in travel (likely on the low end), which is another $32,000 in costs per team. I can't find any figures on sports production costs, so I'll go with $5,000 per game, toting up to $20k a season. Marketing manager full-time would be somewhere near $40k per team. That brings each team up to about $350k. Then you need to consider things such as stadium rental and coaching. All-in the total cost per team is probably somewhere in the $450k to $600k range this season (I'm very happy to be set straight on any facts and figures). That comes to about $137,500 per home game that would need to be taken.

From TV broadcasts a lot of merch seems to have been shifted, so we could go with $25 dollars as the per person take ($20 for the ticket, plus food, drinks, merch). That comes out to 5,500 as a rough figure needed for teams to break even. So Seattle and Utah may not be that far away, and lose significantly south of $150k in their first season, which really is amazing going. SD is charging $30 a ticket should be somewhere around a $250k loss, Glendale, Houston $300k, NOLA $400k, with Austin probably at the $500k mark (assuming a $550k total expenditure). Anywhere near making half your expenditure back in ticket and merch sales in your first year is very good going. However of course, the bottom line is not the only way to measure the profitability of a club, ultimately the increase in value can be offset against losses. Seeing as the franchise fee is rumoured to have increased, the value of the 7 originals have probably gone up by slightly more, hence the net worth of Seattle/Utah/SDL and possibly Glendale and Houston may have increased.

However excluding that funny business for an operating profit I'd look at about 5,500 average for MLR.


So, it depends on what each facility costs to operate. Starfire is past current maximum capacity, Zions was almost at max this week. The cheapest venue is probably Shaw. The most expensive is SD.

Based on current salary cap some teams will probably break even. Others will be in the hole on their investment. But part of the financial stress tests out there was each team needed to meet minimum capital investments so that they could fund at a loss until year 5.

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Blurandski » Fri, 18 May 2018, 07:05

TheStroBro wrote:
So, it depends on what each facility costs to operate. Starfire is past current maximum capacity, Zions was almost at max this week. The cheapest venue is probably Shaw. The most expensive is SD.

Based on current salary cap some teams will probably break even. Others will be in the hole on their investment. But part of the financial stress tests out there was each team needed to meet minimum capital investments so that they could fund at a loss until year 5.


Yeah, somewhere like Starfire I doubt is very expensive at all, so I wouldn't be surprised to see SS break even, Utah due to their one game pre-season with the 10,000 crowd should break even because of that (assuming they charged, can anyone confirm?), and Houston's long pre-season helps spread the coaching costs out, so they may be much less in the red.

It's good to hear that that is the case, fingers crossed that they all break-even sooner rather than later.

Does anyone have an inkling what Seattle are going to do for next season? Is there a way to up capacity to near 7.5k? Similarly what are Utah's options?

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby thatrugbyguy » Fri, 18 May 2018, 09:58

Costs will surely go down for teams who will have their own stadiums next year wouldn't they? Houston and Nola are both getting purpose built facilities are they not?

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Re: Major League Rugby

Postby Blurandski » Fri, 18 May 2018, 10:09

thatrugbyguy wrote:Costs will surely go down for teams who will have their own stadiums next year wouldn't they? Houston and Nola are both getting purpose built facilities are they not?


Depends how much they're paying currently, stadiums aren't cheap to staff and maintain, the main advantage is that match day revenue should go up, with the teams not having to give venues large cuts of tickets and f&b (at least that is how stadium rental in the UK works, London Irish pay £3 per person in attendance, and get no f&b & pay £300,000 a season). I'd suspect that for Houston & NOLA overall costs will rise slightly, but match day incomes will rise by a significant amount more, but it depends on the deals currently agreed.

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