The good news fell on May 12 in the morning. The United States won for the first time in its history the organization of two Rugby World Cups, men and women, in 2031 and 2033 respectively. Australia will organize the editions of 2027 and 2029. I express my sincere gratitude to the International Rugby Federation for their trust and support for our vision to develop this incredible sport across our country.”reacted Ross Young, boss of the American federation (USA Rugby).
The awarding of these two World Cups rewards the efforts of the United States to develop the sport locally. For men, a very young professional championship, Major League Rugby, was born in 2018 with 7 teams, before increasing to 13 today. MLR continued to professionalize despite the pandemic by hosting its first college draft in 2020, at the same time as teams created their first youth academies. ” We are now able to offer career plans to the best young rugby players in the country,” reacted at the time George Killebrew, the commissioner of the league.
Strong ovality development
In the country of American football, several French people have believed in the development of rugby, such as Thierry Daupin, who discovered the popularity of the sport in Hawaii in 2009. There was a real rugby culture on the island, thanks in particular to the Fijian and Samoan communities,” he told French Morning in 2020. He launched his first franchise in Austin in 2015, before helping to create a championship in 2017, which would become Major League Rugby the following year.
Pierre Arnald, former general manager of Stade Français, participated in the creation of Rugby United New York in 2018, the first professional club in the Big Apple. ” What convinced me? My meeting with Ross Young. He organized the Rugby 7s World Cup in San Francisco in the summer of 2018. It was a real success. » The French entrepreneur had even convinced Mathieu Bastareaud to join him in New York at the end of 2019, but the pandemic forced the former French international to return to France after just five matches in the United States.
Among women, the Rugby Women’s Premier League was created in 2009 with eight teams, before expanding to 10 in 2017. But the pandemic has done a lot of damage to this fragile championship which had to stop for two years, before finally resuming in April this year. The Women’s National Team, on the other hand, is very solid, having won the first World Cup in 1991, before finishing second twice in 1994 and 1998. Its last participation in 2017 in Ireland ended in fourth place.
A candidacy pushed by Joe Biden
The 2031 and 2033 World Cups will therefore be timely for the United States, which has ten years to install rugby in the front of the bill in the country. These two big meetings should cost the organizers 500 million dollars. For men, the Rugby World Cup is considered the third biggest sporting event in the world after its football counterpart and the Olympic Games. Enough to benefit from enormous financial and media spin-offs.
If the American candidacy caught the attention of the international federation, it is also partly thanks to Joe Biden. Passionate about rugby, the American president wrote personally last month to the boss of World Rugby, Bill Beaumont, to assure him of his support for the project. ” The United States strongly supports the effort to bring the Men’s 2031 and Women’s 2033 World Cups to our country, and looks forward to working with World Rugby to help make these World Cups the greatest successes in the game. ‘story “. The US President also pledged to promote the development of rugby in the United States and around the world in a sustainable and humane way, without any discrimination, regardless of race, nationality or creed,” and added that the U.S. government would strive to ” minimize any negative impact of tournaments on the environment”.
The challenge of visibility
The world’s largest sports market, the United States lives for American football, basketball and baseball. It’s not easy to find a place in this hyper-competitive environment with major leagues and franchises, especially since the Rugby World Cups are generally organized in September, at the same time as the resumption of the NFL and university football in the United States. United. The organizers therefore do not rule out moving the event during the summer, even if it is to take place a few days or weeks after the end of the various national championships, and the matches will be played in high temperatures. ” We will have to be smart. Why not also consider partnerships with certain NFL franchises concerning the organization? », asks Alan Gilpin, chief executive of World Rugby.
TV broadcasting will be the second question mark, a niche that is also hyper competitive in the United States, especially since Major League Rugby matches are, for the moment, very little visible with only a few posters broadcast on national television (Fox Sports). The majority of meetings are available for free streaming on the internet.