Bermuda Ties to US Rugby & Hosting International Matches
Major League Rugby, a new US professional men’s rugby union competition, will kick off in seven cities in April.
The league earned attention this month when it announced a TV deal with CBS Sports.
A New York team preparing for entry in season two is evidently thinking big, John “JBL” Layfield, a former WWE wrestler now involved in rugby development in Bermuda, is already attached to the project.
President of the Bermuda Rugby Football Union Sean Field-Lament said, it would be encouraging to have a League running so close to Bermuda, but Bermuda has plans for International competition.
MLR commissioner Dean Howes told the Guardian: “Across all media in the US there is a growing awareness of rugby, an appetite just because the game has an ongoing clock, it has a great deal of appeal, it’s constant action.”
NBC shows the Aviva Premiership, sevens and collegiate rugby and has signed for the Six Nations and World Cup. Major broadcasters are in. The question now is whether viewers are too.
“I think what has not yet been proven in the US,” Howes said, “is can we make rugby relevant to the sports media market. And that’s going to take teamwork.”
Year one is set to feature teams in Seattle, San Diego, Glendale (Colorado), Salt Lake City, Houston, Austin and New Orleans. Partly as a result of a professed determination to knit the league into existing rugby communities, teams are informally linked to prominent amateur clubs, for example Seattle Saracens for the MLR Seawolves and Austin Huns in the same city as the Austin Elite MLR side.