You are here
The British Rugby League is actively considering placing a team in New York City in its tier three division, League One. This would follow the successful introduction of the Toronto Wolfpack in 2017. The Wolfpack averaged 6,000 fans, significantly above the 2,500 RFL average across all teams and all divisions in Great Britain.
Part of the reason for the Wolfpack’s excellent attendance was their title in League One that advanced them up to the Championship Division, the second tier below Super Rugby, the top placement.
Preliminary plans would be for the New York thirteen to play in New Jersey’s Red Bull Arena, which last hosted a match between Ireland and the USA in a near capacity 21,000 crowd. Prior to that Test, Red Bull hosted the Churchill Cup a decade ago to sparse attendance.
The New York-based group is led by Brit Rick Wilby, who is involved with the Catalans Dragons, a French side.
Unlike Toronto, which is based in the UK and flies to Canada for home games, the New York team would be local. But like Toronto, the USA side would begin the season (February through October) in the Gulf Stream warmed climate of the UK.
The new club would look to local American rugby union or gridiron football for talent.
Not surprisingly, when a new professional rugby venture is on the drawing board for the United States, the Pollyannas in the American media spin golden scenarios for the future, the latest speculating that after a third division RFL team arrives in New York, then “…a top-flight British Rugby league, or even a British rugby championship, coming to North America.” If only it were that simple.
Finally, the RFL is also considering a new team in Ottawa