By Liam Madigan-Fried
Something many of us have know for months is finally coming to fruition. The organization known as Major League Rugby (MLR) will become the official competition of American Professional Rugby, replacing the train-wreck that was PRO. Nic Benson, a member of the MLR's media team, recently issued a press release on the leagues behalf, which can be read below:
Salt Lake City UT: "Beginning in 2018, Major League Rugby (MLR) will launch as a new professional rugby competition in North America. MLR will be the premier rugby competition in the United States. By drawing on the best domestic talent, MLR will create an intense, fast paced competition and a top-tier media product. MLR will introduce rugby to the American sports mainstream, provide a focal point for millions of existing fans and bring even more new supporters to the game. MLR will launch with members in: Glendale, CO; Kansas City, MO; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Austin, TX; New Orleans, LA; Seattle, WA; Minneapolis, MN; and Salt Lake City, UT. MLR will announce a final team and venue list, player contract information, and 2018 schedule, in the coming months. Beyond 2018, MLR will expand to more cities with an emphasis on finding the right partners, markets and venues.
Developing the game of rugby is at the core of the MLR model. MLR will create local destinations where rugby fans and families can come together to celebrate the highest levels of the American game. MLR (stadiums) will be gathering places for rugby fans and local communities to gather around the game. By connecting the national to the local, MLR will invite America to join the unique, vibrant rugby family and discover its core values: integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect.
MLR will reinvigorate the American rugby development pathway. By creating outreach programs to bring new players to the game and high-performance pathways to keep the best athletes in the sport, MLR will create the competitive environment to push the American game to the next level.
Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and one of the most popular sports in the world, as evidenced by the strong reception it received at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Rugby’s rising domestic growth and wide-reaching global fan base combine to create a unique environment for a professional league to succeed in the American market. While hundreds of local clubs have helped the sport to take hold in the U.S. during the past decade, Major League Rugby is poised to unite these fans under a common banner as rugby enters the American sports mainstream"
From what we here at the Tundra have heard according to our own sources, is that the MLR's model is better suited to weather the initial logistics storm that plagued PRO, particularly when it comes to paying it's players.
There is more money due to more investors (with more still to come), and they won't be writing any personal checks. And, unlike PRO, the MLR will be integrating already established teams into the competition, with the Houston Strikers currently the only known expansion club.
And as for PRO? 2017 is the final year in a two-year deal they signed with USA Rugby, designating them as the USA's premier professional competition. Upon its expiration, the MLR's standing as the top rugby competition in America will be official.
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Penguin Tundra Sports Blog was created in 2016 by a very bored college student who was obsessed with Rugby and Football. That same college student knew how to write pseudo-intelligently, so what better way to show off than to create a blog. Along your journey though the Tundra's domain, you may come across outlandish opinions, horrible spelling errors, and some shit that is just outright wrong. Well then, you should comment, give my blog more attention, and we will have our day in internet court. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy talking about sports as much as I do.
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