US professional rugby union league slated for inaugural play in 2017

By Laurie Fullerton | Freelance Writer

November 29, 2016 | 2 min read

The popularity of rugby looks likely to continue to grow in North America following the inauguration of the National Rugby Football League (NRFL).

The league is currently in the process of selling franchises in eight metropolitan football markets across North America with the help of selling agents Club 9 Sports and Prometheus Capital.

It is not yet clear whether the new league will operate under Rugby Union or Rugby league rules. The US already has a professional rugby union league, Pro Rugby, which is sanctioned by World Rugby and USA Rugby and so it is unlikely that the NRFL would gain approval for a rugby union competition.

“The excitement and appetite for rugby in the US is at an all-time high. Just earlier this month, more than 62,000 fans packed a sold out Soldier Field in Chicago for The Rugby Weekend, a match between New Zealand and Ireland,” said NRFL Managing Director, Steve Ryan. “We plan to replicate this passion with league-play by signing the best players on the pitch globally while introducing the massive audience of contact sports fans in the U.S. to the sport of rugby.”

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The NRFL has selected Carmichael Lynch as its marketing and creative agency of record and Carmichael Lynch Relate as the league’s public relations firm.

“The award-winning team at Carmichael Lynch and Carmichael Lynch Relate is unwavering in their commitment to bold and industry-changing ideas,” said Ryan. “Their global capabilities in advertising, public relations and digital media make them a great fit to bring the league and NRFL teams to fans across the world. We are excited to partner with them as we write sports history by launching the next major league sport in North America and having the highest quality rugby league globally.”

“As the fastest growing sport in the US and the 2nd largest team sport in the world, rugby’s potential as a league here is huge,” said Carmichael Lynch President, Marcus Fischer. “We’re excited to partner with the NRFL to bring this league to life and ignite the passion of sports fans in the US and around the world.”

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