The latest homes for some of the league's franchises
One of the hardest things about building a professional sports league is finding the right venue for teams to play in. Major League Rugby is no exception.
In 2022, three teams have new homes while another kicks off their inaugural play in an established venue. Check out these venues below.
Silverbacks Park - New Home of Rugby ATL
Due to extreme flooding and renovations at their original home, Lupo Field at Life University, Rugby ATL has made the move to play at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta. Kicking off the 2022 season with the first league-wide match, Rugby ATL defeated Old Glory DC in front of a crowd close to the size of their capacity at Lupo Field.
Silverbacks Park is a massive upgrade from the team's first home. There are general admission seats on both sides of the field, the pitch is well kept, and the stadium has actual concessions stands. Plus, the venue can hold up to 5,000 people which is almost double the capacity of the previous stadium.
This venue is a clear upgrade for the team, as they grow their fanbase and community presence.
SDSU Sports Deck - Temporary Home of the San Diego Legion
Torero Stadium was the original home for the San Diego Legion. During its time, Torero hosted two MLR Championship matches including a last-minute thriller in front of a sold out crowd in 2019.
However, the Legion have moved on from the stadium after what appears to be scheduling conflicts between the new USL team, San Diego Loyals, and other University of San Diego Athletics events. Their temporary home this year is San Diego State's Sports Deck.
For many, this is a downgrade for the team. The pitch sits on top of a parking garage and the seating capacity is lower by about 50%. However, the field is closer to public transportation and has better amenities than Torero.
The good news for Legion fans is that the team does not plan on making the deck their permanent home. A few days before their 2022 home opener against Utah, the team announced that the new Snapdragon Stadium being built by SDSU would be the team's home for the next 10 years.
This is great news as Snapdragon will have all the modern amenities for a sports facility.
York Lions Stadium - New Home of the Toronto Arrows
After a season where the team did not play a single home game in Canada, the Toronto Arrows are starting off fresh with their new home on York University's campus. York Lions Stadium is a beautiful venue that can seat about 4,000 fans.
The facility was built to host the opening ceremony and track & field events for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. The Arrows themselves played exhibition matches in 2018 before joining MLR in 2019. Now, the stadium will be their permanent home.
With their home match on April 2, the Arrows are excited to welcome back their fans in-person for the first time since 2019 to their new home.
Choctaw Stadium - Home of the Dallas Jackals
Before the 2021 season, the Dallas Jackals announced their stadium--Choctaw Stadium. While the team ultimately withdrew from that season, they are returning back to Choctaw Stadium for their inaugural campaign.
Choctaw Stadium is a beautiful venue that hosted MLB's Texas Rangers for more than 25 years. When the Rangers moved to Globe Life Field in 2020, the Dallas Jackals decided to take advantage of a vacant world-class facility.
While the entire stadium can hold crowds of more than 48,000 fan, the Jackals will start off by using only a 2500+ seat section of modified outfield stands. The team hopes to quickly expand beyond that initial section to accommodate more fans soon after their inaugural season.
The Jackals kick off their franchise's first home match on February 19th vs. the Houston Sabercats. Match Tickets Here
Better Facilities, Better Future
With these new venue additions, Major League Rugby can be proud that franchise's are finding stable, legitimate homes. These stadiums will not only enhance the TV viewing experience, but be easier for potential fans to come out and give rugby a try.
When Tennessee gets a franchise, what venue would be the best to attract new fans and provide you a top-notch sports viewing experience? Let us know in the comments below!