Major League Rugby
2018 Major League Rugby season
|Commissioner||Dean Howes |
|Number of teams||8|
|Champions||Seattle Seawolves (2018)|
CBS Sports Network, ESPN,|
AT&T Sports Networks
Major League Rugby is an American professional rugby union competition that is the top-level club competition in the United States. It began its first season in 2018, and is an initiative of the American rugby community in partnership with private investors.
Major League Rugby spans three months from April through June. The regular season of ten weeks is followed by a postseason for the top four teams consisting of two semi-final matches and the Championship Game to determine the season's MLR champion team.
There are eight teams that have been confirmed for the 2019 Major League Rugby season:
|Austin Elite||Austin, Texas||Round Rock MPC [a]||3,500||2018||Alain Hyardet|
|Glendale Raptors||Denver, Colorado||Infinity Park [b]||5,000||2018||David Williams|
|Houston SaberCats||Houston, Texas||Aveva Stadium||3,500||2018||Justin Fitzpatrick|
|New Orleans Gold||New Orleans, Louisiana||Eagle Athletic Facility [c]||3,000||2018||Nate Osborne|
|Rugby United New York||New York, New York||Gaelic Park [d]||2,000||2019||Mike Tolkin|
|San Diego Legion||San Diego, California||Torero Stadium||6,000||2018||Rob Hoadley|
|Seattle Seawolves||Seattle, Washington||Starfire Stadium [e]||4,500||2018||Phil Mack|
|Utah Warriors||Salt Lake City, Utah||Zions Bank Stadium [f]||5,000||2018||Alf Daniels|
Other teams may join the league in 2019 and 2020. The following are teams that have publicly stated that they have acquired exclusive negotiating rights with the league:
|LA Coast Rugby||Los Angeles, California [g]||-||-||2019||-|
|Ontario Arrows||Toronto, Ontario [h]||York Lions Stadium||3,000||2019||Chris Silverthorn|
|DC MLR team||Washington, D.C. [i]||-||-||2020||-|
Potential expansion teams
- Dallas Griffins, who initially looked to join for the 2018 season but pushed back their involvement to at least 2019.
- A Boston team. The Boston Mystics club has already played a handful of exhibition matches against New York and Ontario.
- The MPC is located in Round Rock, Texas which is a part of the Greater Austin metro area.
- Infinity Park is in Glendale, Colorado, a home rule municipality in the Denver metropolitan area.
- Eagle Athletic Facility is on the campus of Shaw High School in Marrero, on the Westbank of New Orleans.
- Rugby United New York played at Gaelic Park during their 2018 exhibition season and may move to a different stadium in 2019.
- Starfire Stadium is in the Seattle suburb of Tukwila, Washington.
- Zions Bank Stadium is in Herriman, Utah, located within the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.
- LA Coast Rugby has exclusive negotiating rights for a team in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and plan to join the league in 2019.
- Ontario Arrows have exclusive negotiating rights for an Ontario-based team and plan to join the league in 2019.
- DC MLR has exclusive rights for a Washington, D.C. team that would join no later than 2020, and could play exhibition games in 2019.
|Year||# of Teams||Final||Semi-final knockouts|
|2018||7||Seattle Seawolves||23–19||Glendale Raptors||San Diego Legion||Utah Warriors|
MLR players are generally drawn from North American clubs, although teams are allowed to sign up to five overseas players.
Major League Rugby programming runs in prime weekend time slots on Saturday afternoons and Sunday evenings.
The CBS Sports Network televises 13 matches nationally over the course of the season. This includes a Game of the Week during each of the 10 rounds of the MLR regular season along with all three post-season matches. Live streaming is also available through the CBS Sports Network streaming platforms. The remaining games are available on ESPN properties and regional sports networks.
AT&T Sports Networks have a 17-game package covering six of the seven MLR teams for games not broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. Home and away matches for Austin, Houston and New Orleans are carried on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. Seattle's matches are carried on Root Sports Northwest and all Glendale and Utah games are hosted on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain.
San Diego has a separate local rights agreement for their market with all the Legion's home and away MLR games that are not on the CBS Sports Network being televised locally on Channel 4 YurView California. Dan Power, Peter Steinberg and Brian Hightower were the CBS Sports commentators for the 2018 season. culminating with the Championship Game in San Diego
The league signed a multi-year partnership deal with XBlades in 2017 to supply all jersey/kit apparel for each MLR team and all match officials. The MLR also announced Ram Rugby as the official ball supplier. In May 2018, via Instagram, MLR announced Impact Custom Mouth Guards as the official mouth guard of the league.
- PRO Rugby - a professional rugby competition in the U.S. that played only one season in 2016 before folding
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- "Canucks owner: "We would look at a rugby team"". The Province. Vancouver. 2017-11-07. Archived from the original on 2017-11-19. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
- "Major League Rugby Announce Telecast Agreement with AT&T Sports Networks". MLR. 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
- "Major League Rugby and ESPN Announce Rights Agreement". MLR. 2018-03-20. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
- "Media partners". San Diego Legion. Retrieved 2018-03-28.
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- "Major League Rugby announces XBlades as official apparel partner". Major League Rugby. 2017-12-20. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
- "Major League Rugby Announces Ram Rugby as Official Ball Sponsor". usmlr.com. 2018-02-07. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
- Major League Rugby Announces Impact Mouthguards as Sponsor "Major League Rugby Announces Impact Mouthguards as Sponsor". Major League Rugby. 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
- US Major League Rugby official website