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The finale of the second MLR season last Sunday afternoon was a nail biter with the Seattle Sea Wolves winning in the last two-minutes of play 26-23 against the San Diego Legion, the host side. The game was played inside Torero Stadium.
A crowd of 5,000 attended. The match was broadcast live on CBS.
The two fifteens finished first and second in the nine-team league. Seattle defended their 2018 title.
For the television viewer new to rugby, the game featured a lot of kicking back and forth, stout defense, and many rolling mauls. Perhaps, the only exciting movement was a short lineout throw from the Sea Wolves.
The unanswered questions for MLR is the average attendance at the nine venues. In many instances, there was a dropping off from the first year. Only Seattle and San Diego seemed to have attracted high attendance. Some clubs (e.g.; RUNY) will seek a new stadium next year, their matches played in the Minor League Baseball Brooklyn Cyclones Park did not prove the ideal site.
New stadiums are also on the drawing board. But what affect these changes will have on club attendance remains a subject of concern and conjecture. For MLR clubs to succeed financially, they need to increase significantly the fan base, otherwise, the owners will be writing checks for a long time.
RUNY surprised MLR by the hiring of star French center Mathieu Bastareaud for next season. Of note, he was not picked in France’s 31-player World Club side.
Three new clubs will join MLR next season, bringing the total up to twelve.
The expansion is encouraging but the under attendance bodes serious problem for the league.