Seven teams will participate in Major League Rugby’s inaugural season in the coming months, and according to rugbytoday there are talks of more teams joining in 2019.
The sides that could be included would be from north of the border in Ontario and Vancouver.
Rugby Today has confirmed that the tournament would expand to New York in 2019, with tentatively named “Rugby Club New York”.
James Kennedy, the chairman of the New York MLR club considered the Pro 14 expansion to the United States when they reached out to him for help in the New York area. He did the homework, looked at the data, and ran the numbers, but ultimately decided against establishing a club in New York.
“I liked all the data we got and found some really good stuff about growing rugby in America, especially in the [New York] region, but I didn’t like what Pro 12 wanted to do,” Kennedy said. “After six months, I turned them down.”
“Shortly thereafter, MLR got in touch and we really liked what they were offering,” Kennedy continued. “They had already done the data and research and already had staff on it. [MLR] was being conservative, realistic, and organic. We liked it all, but had questions about salary cap and parity. That was five or six months ago, and we proceeded to negotiate during that time. It was a quick match-up.
“Now, we are signed and on board. We got brought in about a month ago in a board meeting down in Houston. We are playing in 2019. I asked for a year to build a team out of all the clubs in New York. We are board members and part of the MLR.”
Kennedy, with the integral help of Nishant Nereyeth, is expected to officially announce the club in January with a press release and social media campaign to celebrate the founding of the team. The club logo and name will be finalized in the New Year. The local clubs of the New York City area have been incredibly supportive of the new entity.
In anticipation of the 2019 start, the Rugby Club New York will play a few exhibition games and scrimmages this spring. They will test their might against a Boston area select side as well as the Ontario Arrows.