LAFAYETTE, Colo. – Following the successful launch of the nation’s first professional competition, PRO Rugby North America, and commercial successes around rugby’s return to the 2016 Summer Olympics, rumors have developed surrounding the expansion of international professional rugby competitions in the United States.
“There is currently a lot of interest in our country from abroad,” said USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne. “Although we commit to leaving no stone unturned when it comes to reviewing opportunities to build awareness and participation in our country, it’s important that we reiterate the support we have toward PRO Rugby North America after successfully completing their first season. Any outside competition would have to align within the strategy and plan we are developing that is focused on growing the game within our borders.”
“We recognize the significant contribution that PRO has given rugby in the USA and we are 100-percent committed to working together to support the leagues continued growth. This includes the manner in which we would evaluate if and how any outside competition interested in entering our country might impact those efforts. Any future international expansion would be strategically coordinated within our overall plan and also benefit our partners by growing awareness, rising the overall tide, etc., or it wouldn’t make sense.”
In 2015, USA Rugby provided PRO Rugby North America exclusive sanctioning and rights to operate the men’s domestic professional 15-a-side competition in the United States. PRO Rugby is currently wrapping up their first year of this multi-year agreement. The top level professional rugby competition in the United States, PRO Rugby recently crowned the Denver Stampede their inaugural season champions and are on the verge of beginning season two.
“As the league prepares for year two, I want to thank all of the responsible parties at PRO for their commitment and tireless work, both, on the pitch and behind the scenes,” Payne continued. “We also have to extend our appreciation to all of the coaches, players, staff and fans that made year one a reality. PRO was able to achieve something that was never achieved before. This should be recognized and applauded. I’m looking forward to seeing where season two stacks up thanks to the valuable experience the competition gained in season one.”