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City from Below

A Look at A Ready Market

Why Professional Rugby Will Thrive in TN

Tennessee is a vibrant market ready for a new professional contact sport franchise. See below why Major League Rugby would thrive in Tennessee.

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Growing Sports Market

While Tennessee has proven to support professional franchises, the market continues to grow and reach new fans.

  • Has franchises in 4/5 of the major US sports leagues

  • 2.12 million fans attended a Tennessee major league professional event in the last complete full-capacity season (More than the Miami, Minnesota, San Francisco, and Washington DC markets with the same sports)

  • 1 major league franchise was created since 2018

  • 2 minor league franchises were created since 2018

Growth of MLR

Since its first season in 2018, Major League Rugby has drastically grown in the following ways:

  • League has grown from 7 to 13 teams

  • 7 of the top 10 Nielsen media markets have a franchise

League Assets

  • The Rugby Network - Free live-streaming platform for all league matches - over 45,000 subscribers going into 2022 season

  • League Wide Sponsors

    • Guaranteed Rate

    • American Airlines

    • Geico

  • USA Rugby Partnership - Working with Youth & High School Rugby to strategically grow the game as well as develop future players for the national team

  • Other Assets - App, Podcast, Social Media, Collegiate Draft


University of Memphis Rugby.jpg

Source: Memphis Inner City Rugby

Rugby Community

Tennessee has deep rugby roots and a growing community.

  • 4 Major League Rugby drafted collegiate players

  • 50+ men's, women's, and youth clubs

  • 33+ high school college signings since 2020 (boys and girls)

  • Nearly 50 years of organized rugby played in state history

  • Contributed many players to USA Rugby South team - an organization that combines a number of unions in the southeast states for competition

Source: Major League Rugby

Cultural Ties

Rugby is popular in many nations outside of the United States. These foreign cultural ties are strong in Tennessee and can be used to rapidly grow the team's fanbase.

  • 23,144 Tennessee residents were born in Tier 1or Tier 2 Rugby Nations (Source:

    • United Kingdom - 4,980 residents​
    • South Africa - 3,190 residents
    • Japan - 2,280 residents
    • Italy - 1,330 residents

Music City Irish Fest.jpg

Source: Music City Irish Fest

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Source: Business Airport Intl.

Rugby World Cup Exposure

The World Rugby Council approved the United States to start an exclusive Targeted Dialogue phase to accelerate planning for a U.S.-hosted Men's Rugby World Cup in 2031 (

Nashville is one of the bid's potential host cities. With a MLR franchise in place, the World Cup (hosting & viewership) would accelerate love of the game, youth participation, and the franchise's commercial interests.

Numbers from the 2019 World Cup held in Japan.

  • 1,837,000 tickets sold

  • 857,280,000 TV viewers

  • 2,040,000,000 social media views 

  • 242,000 spectators from other countries 

Impact Beyond 2019 Program

  • 6,616 local elementary schools adopted flag rugby

  • 1,180,000 new local rugby participants

Tourism Potential

With a new rugby franchise, Tennessee will see more opportunities to attract tourists from current and new markets. The team will also benefit from the state's growing tourism industry.

Sports Tourism Accolades

Other Tourism Numbers

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Source: Travelocity

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Source: Michael Cooper

Sister Cities Connection

Sister Cities Program

This program seeks to bring cities from different countries together for student exchanges, cultural programs, events, business, trade, and community development. With connections to Tier 1 Rugby Nations, these sister cities can be a great source of fan, player, and sport development for the franchise.

Nashville Tier 1 Rugby Sister Cities: Belfast, Northern Ireland, Caen, France, Kamakura, Japan, Mendoza, Argentina, Tamworth Australia

Knoxville Tier 1 Rugby Sister Cities: Neuquen, Argentina, Muroran, Japan

Chattanooga Tier 1 Rugby Sister Cities: Tono, Japan

Interested in Being Involved? Enter Your Details Below.

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Event Potential

With a new franchise the following events will host fans, generate revenue, and develop the community:

  • 8 Regular Season Home Matches

  • 1-3 Preseason Home Matches

  • 4-6 Academy Home Matches

  • 1-2 Potential Youth or Club Rugby Tournaments

  • Other Team Marketing and Community Events

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Source: Utah Warriors Rugby

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