Thursday 22 March 2018

English clubs examining whether they can play Premiership games in the US

Premiership chief executive Rugby Mark McCafferty
Premiership chief executive Rugby Mark McCafferty

A number of English Premiership clubs are looking at playing competitive rugby matches in the United States as early as next season, The Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The U.S national team are regular participants in the World Cup, and the country is seen as a potentially large market for the game.

"We are working on plans for a game out there," chief executive of Premiership Rugby Mark McCafferty told the newspaper. "There are opportunities; we have to find the right entry point and the right time.

"We have got to recognise that it will build. It is slowly beginning to come through (in the U.S.). They have players who are beginning to come through."

Among the clubs reported to be interested are London Irish, who are looking at playing a home match in Boston or New York. Saracens and Leicester are also interested in playing as an away side, although Leicester chief executive Simon Cohen warned of the potential costs involved.

"There has been some talk and there would be a desire from our part to be involved. In practice, somebody has to put a deal on the table because it is not a cheap deal - you are probably looking at 100,000 pounds ($168,700)for one team to be out there.

"There are all sorts of sponsorship deals that may reduce that cost but it is not as cheap as playing on the other side of the east Midlands."

World champions New Zealand are expected to announce shortly that they will play a test against the U.S. in Chicago in November, ahead of their annual trip to Europe, while an increasing number of Americans are playing in England and France.

The NBA and NFL regularly hold competitive matches in London.

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