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CEO Nigel Melville met with USA Rugby's congress via conference call for a meeting billed as important Friday. As buzz about significant corporate sponsorship has been making its way through the American rugby rumor mill lately, many thought that would be the topic of Friday's call. Instead, it was to get approval for a new for-profit entity to be majority owned by non-profit USA Rugby.
The plan is to create a company, the working title being talked about is Rugby International Marketing, that would form a web-based television channel that runs rugby content from the USA and abroad. USA Rugby would own 90-percent of the company and is seeking a private investor for the final 10-percent, with a price tag of $2 million.
Rugby International Marketing, as its proposed, would have a leadership group similar to that within USA Rugby, including Melville at the helm along with members of USA Rugby's board of directors. The for-profit arm would also be involved in the bidding process for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens, for which USA Rugby has already expressed the intent to bid. It's common practice for a private company, separate of an international union, to actually participate in the hosting of such events.
The new venture appears to be modeled somewhat after Soccer United Marketing, Major League Soccer's subsidiary tasked with monetizing soccer in the United States.