*The first professional rugby league in the USA
Tough news to hear for advocates for rugby in the US. I can’t say I’m surprised, considering that half of the league was based in California and another team was in Obetz, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus (Really??). I get that this is a relatively foreign sport to the average American but for God’s sake, lingerie football and indoor lacrosse have WAY better turn outs than PRO Rugby. I actually went to a game when I was in San Diego and there were maybe 3,000 people there, so maybe filling the University of San Diego’s stadium halfway. That’s not a horrible number but there was no work done for TV deals or sponsors, or even internet streaming. The teams didn’t even have nicknames, it was literally Denver vs San Diego. The big wigs at PRO Rugby blame USA Rugby for everything but this league was so half assed from the start that they really only have themselves to blame. They forced the market, trying to ride the wave of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the then-newly announced news that rugby would be in the Olympics. There’s a lot to learn from this experiment, like limiting the number of foreign born players
to please Dear Leader Trump to foster domestic growth of the sport so there’s hope. PRO Rugby hasn’t technically shut their doors but my guess is that they and USA Rugby will limp through to March, which would see the end of everyone’s 12 month contracts, and then call it a day. Good news is that they learned what NOT to do.