Less than a month before the return of Major League Rugby, the rugby news cycle is picking up. Some of it is about the MLR. Some of it is about other leagues broadcasting in the States. All of it is about pouring rugby into American eyeballs.
Without further ado…
Change the Name to Japan Rugby League FUN
Don’t worry. I hate me, too.
The surprise announcement that The Rugby Network would be carrying a pair of League One games was met with universal excitement. Based on Twitter, the response has been even better than the hype.
League One is a style of rugby many newer American fans will have never experienced. Part of that is to blame on the cost of FloRugby. Its hard to believe we’re only two years removed from Super Rugby being one of the few live sports available on ESPN. (Considering how ESPN made zero push to market one of the few live sports during a global lock down where Korean baseball in the early morning was deemed must watch TV, The Rugby Network is a blessing from the deity of your choice.) This was the first time such free flowing footy has been easily accessible in the States.
Japan Rugby League One is not a perfect league, but it has many of the things American fans are growing to like. Massive stars, free flowing games, and plenty of excitement left anyone watching begging for more. Its not a perfect product, (the new branding is a step backwards,) but JRLO could be a staple in American rugby households.
If you’re new to Japan Rugby League One, you can learn about the league via the latest issue in our An American’s Primer series. While the focus of RugbyFootballTalk is American rugby, my formal training is in economics. If web traffic demand for League One articles continues at half the rate its been since the announcement, we’ll absolutely supply more content.
European Rugby is Gaining Stateside Exposure
If you turned on CNBC Saturday morning to take in some business news, you were disappointed. If you wanted rugby more than business, you were pleasantly surprised.
Following the termination of NBCSN, English and European rugby has shifted to CNBC, at least in the short term. Alex Corbisiero confirmed on Twitter that we’ll be seeing live rugby on the network at 8:00 Eastern for at least the next two weeks, both of which will be Leicester in the European Rugby Champions Cup. NBC has long sought the type of results from Premiership rugby that they’ve seen from the Premier League. One must assume that coverage via Peacock has indicated that rugby deserves a larger platform. If the coverage is consistent and receives a bit of investment, there could be consistent, top level club rugby broadcast regularly into American homes for the first time.
All MLR Preseason Camps are Running
Most of the signings are out. The schedule is set. Now, training is in full form.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be watching for a few major announcements. New broadcasting deals remain quiet. 2023 expansion is likely to be announced in the coming months. Even league law variations have been withheld. Will the automatic 7 point try continue? (Likely.) The scrum offside line remaining the tunnel and the 20 minute red card? (Probably.) Is the global law 50-22 trial coming to MLR? (Seems inevitable.) When you think about it, its a bit weird to know games will be played in less than a month and we still don’t know the actual rules of the game.
My point: start getting excited, because the biggest news is yet to come.