You are here
The recent announcement that Dan Lyle, former EVP of Sponsorship at United World Sport LLC has taken a job with global entertainment/sport giant AEG represents another in a series of new rugby business initiatives in the United States. At this time, it is unclear what specifically AEG has in mind to develop a "rugby business." The company owns an operates arenas and stadiums, most prominently in the US, the Stub Hub Center in Los Angeles. It also owns the LA Galaxy, the Major League Soccer team.
The past two-years have witnessed a proliferation of new American rugby businesses.These include PRO Rugby, a five city league that marked the first full season of professional rugby in the US, the Rugby Channel offering Eagles' games and international rugby via subscription, the NBC Sports channel airing the English Aviva Premiership matches, and two prior, pre Rugby World Cup tune up games in Chicago that pitted the Eagles versus the All Blacks and Australia.
On tap are next week's All Blacks vs. Ireland match in Soldiers Field, Chicago, and also the Men's Eagles' game against the New Zealand Maoris in Chicago's Toyota Park. Also in the hopper are plans for the Austin (Texas) Huns to commence a second pro league for Texas and some neighboring states. And, finally, United World Sports is exploring other sevens events for the future.
On going and established rugby events are the March Las Vegas Sevens, the Varsity Cup, and the Penn Mutual Insurance College Rugby Championship in Philadelphia in June.
So, the paramount question today is whether some of these newer planned rugby events that are not one-offs, can sustain a fan base, or generate viewership numbers that might show profit in the long-term?