Super Rugby Coming To American Shores?
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Alright, so it’s possible that I read a month old article that mentioned this possibility in passing but whatever, here it is. So basically, Super Rugby is the NFL of rugby (union) in the Southern Hemisphere. Teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and Japan. Rugby is actually huge in Argentina, especially now that Messi refuses to play for the national team after choking again (soccer is soft lol) and is growing really, really fast in Japan. Those were the last 2 countries to be expanded to and that came after years of market research, forecasting, and careful due diligence. Just last year, the first ever professional rugby union started in the US called PRO rugby. There were only 5 teams and 3 of them were in California.Though PRO rugby is looking to expand (potentially to Chicago), they face the same types of problems that Super Rugby does but with a fraction of the teams and in only one country. The head of Super Rugby Andy Marinos acknowledges that his league format has issues, chief among them being parity among teams. 3 out of the 4 semi final teams were from New Zealand, which might make sense if New Zealand didn’t represent the smallest market of the 5 nations involved. Where things get interesting (read: I start to connect dots that don’t exist) is that if PRO rugby continues to grow, it make sense for Super Rugby to absorb PRO which would ultimately be a win-win for all parties. The executives at PRO want to grow rugby in the US (and probably make money too but whatever) and Super Rugby wants to grow to larger markets. The US is certainly fertile soil for professional rugby, assuming its done well.
The glaring problem for my fever dream is that upon this merger, you would have teams around the globe from Columbus, OH to Sydney. That’s 9500 miles. Clearly, you would have to have some divisions created with Super Rugby for that to be feasible. That said, rugby IS coming to America, either from Super Rugby or a more robust PRO rugby and THAT’S….THE BOTTOM LINE.