The Rugby Football League (RFL), a newly formed US company, has launched the first ever U.S. Rugby Sevens Major League, which will see the world’s best international male players battle it out against the best US players for record breaking prize money.
With a kick off, October 2022 in Las Vegas, the RFL aspires to create a truly new fan experience combining the energy of Rugby Sevens events with the excitement of the Kentucky Derby experience by using live gaming to engage fans – #racetrackrugby. The inaugural RFL event will feature the top 12 international teams pitted against 4 US Team Franchises to win their share of the $1,000,000 prize money. From 2023, the RFL will expand to up to 17 tournaments in major US cities and will feature up to 16 US Team Franchises playing with top international teams.
The RFL is sanctioned and supported by USA Rugby and USA Rugby CEO, Ross Young said: “We are excited to announce this sanctioning agreement with RFL and their plans to expand the rugby sevens landscape in the US. The inaugural event in October 2022 is one for all rugby and general sports fans to look forward to as we welcome more first-class international rugby with a focus on US qualified athletes and competition.”
The RFL will break new ground for US Major Leagues by offering fans the unique opportunity to own a share of the RFL when buying a ticket for the Las Vegas Sevens 2022 via an Online Public Offer (OPO). The OPO also provides a unique 100% return on investment opportunity for investors who decide to resell their ticket via the RFL ticket office. It will start in January 2022 and will be hosted on the innovative crowd funding platform wefunder.
The RFL has assembled a team of expert professionals lead by former World Rugby Competition General Manager Philippe Bourdarias (RFL CEO) who commented: “The RFL is an amazing development for the game of Rugby in the US. There is a huge appetite for Rugby Sevens events in the US, as shown by the record breaking RWC Sevens 2018 in San Francisco and the success of the Las Vegas Sevens over the years. We feel that there is a huge growth opportunity for the RFL and Franchises with an innovative model whereby the League centralises all expenses and rights, leaving the fun side of the League (managing the teams) to the Franchisees.”
Philippe is supported by former Las Vegas Sevens organizer Rob Cornelius (COO) and former European Rugby Cup (Heineken Cup), Paddy Power and Racing Post executive Eugene Delaney (Gaming and Commercial adviser), to build and deliver this ambitious project. Backed by a US-based financial consortium, the League will be a game changing breakthrough for the development of the game in the US.
RFL COO, Rob Cornelius said: “Having led the development of the Las Vegas Sevens until 2019, it is truly exciting to see the best of international Rugby Sevens teams coming back to Las Vegas. There is huge support from key stakeholders who supported the Las Vegas Sevens in the past such as our Rhino Rugby the Official Ball and Equipment of the RFL and from the local community. From my experience, there is a huge opportunity to replicate the Las Vegas success to other major cities and I look forward to developing the League over the next few years.”
RFL Gaming and Commercial Advisor, Eugene Delaney states, “The RFL delivers a truly innovative concept with fan engagement front and foremost. We want to provide a new and unique experience for fans at the stadium and at home by working with Sportsbooks to create dynamic betting offering, something not available in any of the other US Sports leagues. Our Race Track Rugby concept will enable us to leverage the fast-growing live betting market, providing Sportsbooks with a fantastic opportunity for customer acquisition and engagement. Given our unique positioning, we are already in partnership talks with US and European operators.”