Update-4/19/17: Hi all! FrozenOne here! So I see by my stats online people are still looking at this article (from more than a year ago). I get it, it's the most popular article of this blog's early days, and some of you casual Rugby fans aren't so in the loop. So let me put it to you like this. PRO is done. There is no expansion coming, the league is most unfortuneately dead. Doug. S can cay all he wants how there is going to be a year two, fact is, nobody wants to play for him because he doesn't pay. The MLR (Major League Rugby) will be coming in 2018 once PRO's two year deal with USA Rugby is up, and it's going to be 10x more organized, with a non-sketchy system to pay its players. Don't get me wrong, PRO was great while it lasted and me and Liam had a ton of fun covering it, but the mo'fu**a is gone. Capuit. Bylut, by all means, read this article and give us hits.
Five teams will take the field in 2016 as PRO Rugby comes to life. We have three clubs hailing from the golden coast of California, from cities such as Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Diego. While the last two are sprawled across the Midwest, in the cities of Denver and Obetz, Ohio. While this number might come up short in terms of what American rugby fans were hoping for in a professional league, the wait for more teams might not be long.
“We are looking into all possible locations for year two.” Says Dominic DeFalco, a member of PRO Rugby’s media department. So the natural question that comes to mind is, where could these new clubs possibly hail from in year two?
To help shed some light on this question, we have put together a short list of some of the possible destinations where PRO Rugby could land next year.
As someone who calls ‘the hub’ home, this choice might be a little biased on my part, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. After all, where can you get more loyal fans than the place that has stuck by its guys through not one, but two of the biggest sports scandals in history?
The city and the surrounding area have already got a small dose of the competitive and captivating nature of Rugby. The city itself plays host to two American Premiership teams, the Boston RFC and the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, which could very well leave the Boston rugby faithful clamoring for more.
The fans aren’t the only reason why PRO Rugby might call Boston home. The goal in the first few years of the league should be to raise as much awareness about the sport as possible. Boston (according to News Generation), is listed as the 7th largest media market in the country. So, if reaching a large, sports-obsessed market is the league’s goal, Boston could be the place to start.
Did somebody mention large media markets? Well it doesn’t get much bigger than ‘The Big Apple’, which is ranked number one in the nation.
New York is home to one of the most diverse populations in all the world, which means all the more chance of there being some rugby fans ready to cheer on a new team. And if not, they could be waiting for an excuse to cheer for anybody but the Jets or Giants.
Teams in other leagues have found success in New York both on and off the pitch already. Old Blue of New York and the New York Athletic Club, both of the American Premiership league, have made strides in terms of their community outreach, as well as their level of competition on the pitch (Old Blue currently sits atop the standings).
The big city life might also be alluring to international names as well. We’ve already seen teams such as Denver and San Francisco sign impact players Pedrie Wannenburg and Orene Ai’I respectively. Imagine what it might mean for a player to be the face of a franchise in one of America’s greatest urban meccas.
This one in my opinion seems the most likely out of all the others. Rugby has always had a larger presence in Canada than in the States, and if you’re trying to grow an audience, it’s best to reach far and wide.
Organized rugby already has a very strong presence in the province as a whole, with the B.C Rugby Union boasting over 7,900 registered members among 59 clubs. This statistic alone gives you two very key demographics; One, it gives you a huge local talent pool with which you can scout and develop players. Two, it gives you a whole lot more people who are interested in watching rugby.
And, since it’s been noted with the last two choices, I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Vancouver has the third largest Canadian media market.
When it comes to the tenacity of fan bases, look no further than the city of brotherly love. I can tell you from personal experience, Philly fans are absolutely crazy. Then again, in order to truly assimilate with American sports culture, perhaps that’s exactly what we need.
Though there are several smaller leagues around the greater Philadelphia area, Philly’s top squad are known as the Schuylkill River Exiles, who currently sit in second place of the Mid-Atlantic Senior Men’s Division 1. A division, which also happens to include the neighboring and ever dominant Rocky Gorge Rugby Club. Both clubs hold enormous potential in their players.
Just how big could a Philly fan base get you ask? Well, Philadelphia sits in second place on our list of media market sizes, at number four in the country. The outreach potential is huge, and in one of the most sport-dedicated cities in the country.
Connect With Us on Facebook and Twitter!
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.
Logo Typography Credit: PhotoBucket