World Rugby announced the host nation selection today
Source: The Guardian
For USA Rugby fans, history will be made in 2031 and 2033. For the first time ever in North and South American history, the Rugby World Cup will be hosted on the continent. The United States will be the host nation for the 2031 Men's World Cup and the 2033 Women's World Cup.
At the announcement of the host countries, Sir Bill Beaumont, World Rugby Chairman, said, "“Today, we have approved three exceptional Rugby World Cup host nations – England, Australia and USA – providing unprecedented certainty and an unparalleled opportunity to accelerate the growth and impact of rugby globally. It is great for rugby, for fans and for the host nations.
“The confirmation of host locations is supported by a new partnership approach to event delivery, that will power long-term, sustainable development, including in the USA and across the women’s game, enabling the sport to realise its global potential on and off the field, driving significant social and economic benefits for host nations.
“Today is a landmark moment for the sport, and an exciting development for fans. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making this dream a reality as we look to deliver a truly global sport for all.”
USA Rugby Chief Executive Ross Young added: “I speak for the rugby community and fans across the United States when I express our sincere gratitude to World Rugby for their trust and endorsement of our vision to grow this incredible sport exponentially across our country.
“USA Rugby will now venture into a new era and ensure the sport’s most treasured event is a springboard for creating lasting, sustainable enthusiasm and passion for rugby from coast to coast. We look forward to partnering with World Rugby in the years ahead to ensure that our preparations for these tournaments and the events themselves are a paradigm-shifting catalyst for the growth of our sport, not only here in the United States but around the world.” (Rugby World Cup)
For years, the United States has been lauded as rugby's "sleeping giant." Due to its sports media size and potential player talent, investors and rugby enthusiasts knew that at some point rugby's most decorated event would reach the states.
Major League Rugby (MLR), the highest professional domestic league in America, is excited that the time has come. "This moment marks a pivotal turning point for the sport of rugby in the United States and around the world," the league said in a statement after World Rugby's announcement. "This will be the first time a Men’s Rugby World Cup has been held in North or South America, as a new hosting concept is put in place as the U.S. stages consecutive Men’s and Women’s events within the same organizational structure. The unparalleled growth made possible by bringing the world’s third-largest sports event and the fastest growing women’s event to the world’s largest sports market cannot be overstated."
Source: USA Rugby Twitter
Among it's excitement to participate in hosting the event, MLR also sees the growth potential for its competition. "A projected 4.1 million fans could attend both the Men’s and Women’s Rugby World Cup events in the United States," they said in their statement. "Recent Rugby World Cup tournaments have yielded more than 242,000 international fans from around the world to host countries and have seen more than 1.7 million spectators flock to stadiums, generating significant revenue at the local and national level."
Not only are these fans numbers good for the one-time event, but the league hopes to market and capture those fans to follow their annual competition. “It gives us a ‘north star’ to shoot for,” George Killebrew, MLR's Commissioner, told iNews in the UK. “The MLR is a professional league that has 13 teams – 12 in the United States, one in Toronto, Canada. If you look at this nine-year runway to a 2031 World Cup, if we have one or two new teams a year, we will be a 28-team league in all the metropolitan areas in this country."
Killebrew has mentioned countless times how Major League Soccer (MLS) started as a new league after the Soccer World Cup was hosted by the USA in 1994. At that point, soccer did not have an American professional league. However, due to the popularity of the World Cup, MLS began their competition in 1996 after a few years of development. MLS is currently one of the fastest-growing professional leagues in the world.
With the establishment of a professional league, and a nine-year runway until the Rugby World Cup, Killebrew and MLR see that more groundwork has been laid to reap the rewards of hosting the international event compared to soccer. From getting more youth to play rugby, to educating the general American sports fan, the World Cup will have a massive impact on the sport's US future.
Nine years is a long time to wait, but now is the time to get rugby fans, players, and advocates to start promoting and preparing for one of the world's best sporting events.
Further Tennessee-Related Notes
MLR released a list of host cities that the World Cup bid is looking at for the 2031 and 2033 event in their statement. Here is the list of potential cities (no particular order):
Kansas City, MO
Los Angeles, CA
New Orleans, LA
New York/New Jersey
San Diego, CA
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
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