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Aviva Premiership officials, including commercial director Dominic Hayes, are Stateside this week for the festivities surrounding the Eagles and All Blacks match Saturday in Chicago. They’re not just taking in the experience as fans, but as interested observers.
USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville has hinted the Premiership is looking at the possibility of expanding into the American market. While it’s unclear what exactly that expansion might look like, we’re hearing two things.
One is that a Premiership match will likely be played in America, a la the NFL playing regular season games in the UK. We don’t know what teams would play where or when, but the game would likely be on the East Coast.
The second thing we’re hearing is that the Premiership is interested in setting up a developmental league in the United States. There are more Americans plying their trade in England’s top league than ever before, and more making significant contributions, so it would make sense that the Premiership is interested in exploring a further talent pipeline.
The league would probably consist of a half a dozen teams or fewer on the East Coast, and would constitute the first professional league in the United States. Nothing is certain, confirmed or anything other than an idea at this point, but the possibilities are being talked about and explored by those in the Premiership’s highest levels.