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RLWC2021USA

RLWC 2021 - USA Bid Statement

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Hi. We represent the USA bid to host the RLWC in 2021. We're BIG fans of the site and its Forum, and have been actively following the discussions around international development. As RLIF continues to weigh its options, we wanted to share our position, directly to some of the game's most passionate fans, on why we think our bid should be selected.

We believe there is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in 2021 to not just host the RLWC in the USA (and Canada, if RLIF accepts our request to amend the bid) but to finally introduce the Greatest Game to the American audience and dramatically lift Rugby League in the hearts and minds of major media, corporate sponsors and potential owners. If managed properly, such an event would help drive and fund development in all nations as well as build and/or strengthen interest in professional competitions, particularly the NRL and Super League (as the EPL benefits from the growth of football and the rise of MLS in the US, or as the NBA benefits from the global rise of basketball). We have great respect for the game and its heritage and know we are asking an awful lot, but we're asking the entire RL community - from the most avid, diehard fan who breathes life in to the game to the board at RLIF - to let us borrow your most sacred resource and put it on the world's biggest stage and advance the game for all.

Like it or not, Rugby (Union) is making tremendous strides in the US, but the door remains ajar for RL to establish itself as a viable product. This is especially true at the professional level where no entity has yet eatablished itself and where RL is at its finest with the tremendous athletes of the NRL and Super League. That window of opportunity is rapidly closing, however, and we fear a return to England in 2021, while strategic in its own right, will fall far, far short of every true fan's wish to see rugby league embraced as a top-tier global sport.

If you're interested in supporting the US bid, or if you'd simply like to engage us and the 17K other international fans who support it, we'd like to respectfully invite you to make your voices heard on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RLWC2021) and/or Twitter site (https://twitter.com/RLWC2021USA).

Either way, we encourage you to stand up for a side and be part of the process.

Thank you...

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Good luck with the bid.  I'd like to see it back in England after enjoying it so much in 2013 but I can see the strategic value for the game if it ends up over there.

 

What I think that the RLWC needs is:

 

1.  A fantastic atmosphere created for and by the fans at the games.  Get full stadiums with colour and crowd noise.

2.  A profit.  This is the main money raiser for the international game which needs money to fund expansion which I think is crucial.

3.  Legacy.  Something that has possibly been failed by the 2013 version.  Shrinking away from London on the club scene, no obvious progress in Wales, no building on the great crowd in Bristol.

 

If you can convince me and everyone else that you can achieve all of these then you'll have my full backing.

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Thanks for the reply....

1. Host City Sports Commissions and/or world-class NFL and MLS stadiums from more than 10 major US and Canadian cities (NY, San Jose, Orlando, Denver, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Houston, Honolulu, Vancouver, Toronto) have enthusiastically stepped forward to be part of a North American RLWC (yes, Canada wants to join us). While Rugby (union/league) has built a formidable following here in the US, particularly at the collegiate level, America LOVES to be a part of big, new events. We have never had a Rugby World Cup of any kind, nor will the US host any major international event until 2024 (LA Olympics) or 2026 (FIFA World Cup). When you add in the international fans who will travel from abroad (Europe, Australia-Polynesia) to see their teams in strategically placed group stage games, plus the marketing impact of broadcast partners, host cities, stadiums and sponsors, we will have full stadiums (ranging from 18,000 to 60,000 seats).

Yes, it would be great to be in June away from NFL/College Football, but that's out of our control. Just keep in mind that we'll be targeting weekends when local teams are away or nights when they are not playing. Bottom line: expect a US RLWC to have the highest attendance of any held to date (or for some time). FIFA'S 1994 US WC, when "soccer" was truly in its infancy is still the most attended despite the tremendous growth since that time.

2. Profit to invest back in the game will not materially differ by bid. That said, we think the stakeholders should be much more focused on the importance of growth and investment in the sport as a whole. A US event will yield far greater returns to the sport and all of the stakeholders. We dare to think what happens if the sport remains insular to England/Australia, but expose it to global sponsors, media and merchandisers, give it a platform to truly be seen globally, and put it in a country with cities/stadiums/fans hungry for a new & different sporting experience - that's where fanatics of the Greateat Game should line up with pride.

Note: With respect to the additional UK government funds for infrastructure investment tied to the bid (unrelated to RLWC profit), we would kindly suggest a movement to keep those funds based on the granting of a 2025 English RLWC. When you think about the options, why wait another 4 years to give it to England? Just means more time to plan and leverage the magnitude of the event.

3. What happens coming out of the RLWC is the most crucial piece of all, and probably the hardest to predict. Staging a successful "event" is not enough - you made that observation yourself regarding 2013 - and the organizers cannot do it all on their own. It takes a village, so to speak with stakeholders embracing the opportunity at every level.

One could argue that grassroots in the US has been lost to Union (collegiate play certainly has), but it doesn't mean that 13's doesn't have a place in the rugby world - just as 3x3 has a place in basketball; perhaps it's a fun alternative at the grassroots level. We don't have the legacy of Union vs League here - it's just another form of Rugby. That may not sit well with fanatics, but it's true and serves as a viable path to build on the great work Union has done in the Us and enable us to meaningfully showcase the world's best, toughest athletes on a grand stage.

RL was born as the "professional" game - fast, hard-hitting, tough, etc - and the success of the NRL and, to a lesser degree Super League, suggests that that's where RL has its greatest advantage to prosper. It's going to be another generation before Rugby (League or Union) becomes a truly formidable sport in the US, but let's leverage the RLWC to showcase the game, build a viable pro league, and inspire mainstream media to broadcast the NRL and SuperLeague Grand Finals. It's time to get them from out behind subscription walls and into the national consciousness, and only a WC-type event can do that.

RLIF, NRL, Super League and the sports other caretakers (NZ, PNG, Samoa, Fiji, etc) must ultimately decide where it's destiny lies and how much risk it's willing to take to get there. Not easy stuff - let's just make sure they weigh the path of not taking the "risk" and what that might mean as well.

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Is the US bid going to underwrite it and guarantee a minimum return for RLIF, like other sports do like Union? For me that would be key as otherwise the risk would be too great.

The legacy would have to see junior development too, as otherwise it's just superficial and there's no pathway

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It's a really, really bad idea.  And why should England be the country to get passed up where the game could use an infusion of support.  Shouldn't it be the year when Aus is supposed to be the host where the game is healthy.  What about T.V? You will get almost no coverage in the states and it the T,V times will inconvenience everyone in England and Australia.  Union drew 64,000 to Chicago and it got very little coverage in the main stream press.  If you want the RLWC to be a huge bust then support this bid.   I just hope the RILF don't get hoodwinked by this.   In addition the US team will get destroyed.  Also the Rugby sevens did not get big coverage in the U.S even with an NFL player on the team.  A lot of this bid depends on tricking Union folks to come out and see "rugby".  But even that community just isn't big enough to support a whole tournament.

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Welcome to the site, it's great to see people involved in rugby league speak directly to the fans. 

Could you provide us with more details about the proposed US Pro League? When is it likely to start? What teams will be involved? What will the league or brand be called?

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Welcome to the site, it's great to see people involved in rugby league speak directly to the fans.

Could you provide us with more details about the proposed US Pro League? When is it likely to start? What teams will be involved? What will the league or brand be called?

Plan is to launch the league leading up to RLWC, ideally in 2018. Cities hosting RLWC are target cities for the league. Lots more to be shared, such as branding, when details are confirmed and as appropriate. Lots and lots of competition on all fronts as well as cooks in the kitchen. All efforts in near term are on winning the bid.

Thanks for your support!

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Is the US bid going to underwrite it and guarantee a minimum return for RLIF, like other sports do like Union? For me that would be key as otherwise the risk would be too great.

The legacy would have to see junior development too, as otherwise it's just superficial and there's no pathway

 

I am also interested in an answer to this question:

 

Is the US bid going to underwrite RLWC2017 and guarantee a minimum return for RLIF, and - if so - what will that minimum return be ???

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I am also interested in an answer to this question:

Is the US bid going to underwrite RLWC2017 and guarantee a minimum return for RLIF, and - if so - what will that minimum return be ???

Thanks for the question. Per the bid RFP, we're not able to divulge bid financials, but yes there would be a specific amount underwritten.

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What links/cooperation do you have with USARL?

 

I'd hate to see another AMNRL/USARL situation


Check out upcoming international fixtures and highlights of past matches at http://rlfixtures.weebly.com

 

St Albans Centurions International Liaison Officer and former Medway Dragons Wheelchair RL player.

Leeds Rhinos, St Albans Centurions y Griffons Madrid fan. Also follow (to a lesser extent) Catalans Dragons, London Broncos, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Jacksonville Axemen, Vrchlabi Mad Squirrels, København Black Swans, Red Star Belgrade and North Hertfordshire Crusaders.

Moderator of the International board

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What links/cooperation do you have with USARL?

I'd hate to see another AMNRL/USARL situation

They have come out publicly to support us. You can find the statement on USARL.com. I would add that the former AMNRL leadership have also come out in support of the bid, acknowledging its time to put the past behind us and get the game going here in the US.

Thanks.

Edited by RLWC2021USA

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If finances are underwritten then this is the one chance to get a good foothold in the biggest sporting market on the planet.  Another cycle and Rugby League will have blown it.  Again.

 

With both codes in their infancy in North America as far as semi or full time professionalism goes this is the time.  This is where the beauty of simplicity becomes our strength; a gladiatorial, fast paced contact sport which is simple to follow, learn, join and a spectacle for the neutral.

 

Or we can watch while professional rugby union grows over the next four years, which will soon become eight and then twelve years, as RLWC2025 will likely be in Oz.  RLWC2029 USA anyone?  Is that really the next best slot?  Giving over a decade of ground away?

 

While I hate to lower myself to the same level, bringing up the RU dirty tricks of the past if necessary could be worthwhile leverage for gaining support amongst people who are naturally suspicious of elitism.  A code for the common people banned for a hundred years?  A carefully timed reminder of Vichy French collaboration?  Certainly some marketing points in there to win over consumers.

 

It’s a heck of a risk, but as far as I’m concerned the only failure is not doing this now; opportunities multiply as they are seized as the saying goes and the potential gains are enormous in terms of branding.

 

Have you reached out to the Toronto Wolfpack guys?  There are some excellent promotional people there which could add value to your team.

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What links/cooperation do you have with USARL?

 

I'd hate to see another AMNRL/USARL situation

Why do people think the USARL has any relevance to this at all? It's a relatively low-level amateur competition and NGB and has about as much relevance to this as the 2013 WC and Sally Bolton did to the RFL.

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Thanks for the question. Per the bid RFP, we're not able to divulge bid financials, but yes there would be a specific amount underwritten.

If there is a guaranteed financial return for the RLIF which is near what the RFL are offering alongside a clear legacy plan then I'd be all for a US WC. Some times you have to take a punt .....

Edited by Odsal Outlaw

Nottingham Outlaws Rugby League

Harry Jepson Winners 2008

RLC Midlands Premier Champions 2006 & 2008

East Midlands Challenge Cup Winners 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008

Rotterdam International 9's Cup Winners 2005

RLC North Midlands Champions 2003 & 2004

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Why do people think the USARL has any relevance to this at all? It's a relatively low-level amateur competition and NGB and has about as much relevance to this as the 2013 WC and Sally Bolton did to the RFL.

Sally Bolton was an RFL employee before, during and after her WC tenure.

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2 questions for the bid team.

 

If there is to be a pro comp what will happen to the current USARL teams?

 

Not sure if it has relevance to you at the moment what is your opinion on the Wolfpack and do you see this (joining the Uk comp) as a path that a US team could follow?

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Thanks for the question. Per the bid RFP, we're not able to divulge bid financials, but yes there would be a specific amount underwritten.[/quote

If there is a guaranteed financial return for the RLIF which is near what the RFL are offering alongside a clear legacy plan then I'd be all for a US WC. Some times you have to take a punt .....

 

Yes, but does the "guaranteed financial return for the RLIF" equal that for the UK bid??????

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2 questions for the bid team.

If there is to be a pro comp what will happen to the current USARL teams?

Not sure if it has relevance to you at the moment what is your opinion on the Wolfpack and do you see this (joining the Uk comp) as a path that a US team could follow?

The two are not mutually exclusive. We look forward to working with and supporting USARL and its 14 team amateur league, especially on its development efforts to grow beyond the east coast and secure a national footprint. As many of you have expressed, a pro comp cannot be successful without a robust pathway for players, coaches, referees, administrators and significant grassroots development.

The Wolfpack have been a tremendous boost to the North American Rugby League community, and we wish them nothing but success. Likewise, if we are successful in winning the bid and adding Canada (as we've requested of RLIF), we're confident the RLWC will do wonders to raise awareness of the Wolfpack, inspire participation/fans and potentially drive an additional US franchise in the U.K. comp - these are positive developments we should all take pride in. Indeed, during this nascent stage, we must all support each other's efforts and #GrowTheGame.

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Thank you for answering questions on the forum and engaging with RL fans.

 

I have been adamantly against this bid because I believe if it actually succeeded(which I don't think it would) in drawing well. It will actually cement the place of Union in the U.S.  The reason being that if children are inspired to play "rugby" there are no RL clubs for them to join but rather a well funded and potential path to collegiate play in Union. As you yourself acknowledged collegiate, junior and amateur development is all in fact Union. There are 2600! Rugby Union clubs in the U.S. even smaller cities have clubs. So Rugby Union will be the biggest beneficiary and they didn't have to spend a dime.

 

In addition you said:

 

One could argue that grassroots in the US has been lost to Union (collegiate play certainly has), but it doesn't mean that 13's doesn't have a place in the rugby world - just as 3x3 has a place in basketball; perhaps it's a fun alternative at the grassroots level. We don't have the legacy of Union vs League here - it's just another form of Rugby. That may not sit well with fanatics, but it's true and serves as a viable path to build on the great work Union has done in the Us and enable us to meaningfully showcase the world's best, toughest athletes on a grand stage.

So you believe that Union teams will start playing the 13 version of the sport like 3x3 basketball?  3x3 Basketball isn't a real sport with leagues its something you do in the driveway when you can't make a full team.  This tells me that you have no plans for junior development.  You are trying to put a League roof on a Union house. I'm afraid you won't be able to cut corners.  I can't stand Union but they have put in the hard yards in junior and collegiate development. 

 

Without Toronto the best market for RL in the continent currently I don't see how you will have a successful league.  I also noted that Jacksonville is not in the cities mentioned for hosting or having a team.  That is has been the best market in the U.S so far.  So you expect to have a national professional competition in the U.S and Canada minus the two markets that have had some success. In a sport that the vast majority of Americans have never heard of.  And Denver has a pro Union club that is doing  well so you would compete against that as well.  I don't know how you would get this league on television at all.

 

Lastly holding it in Football season in the U.S has got to be the last straw for the project.  Its a super crowded schedule at that time of the year.  Going up against College Football, Pro football, baseball world series and playoffs, NBA, NHL heck even high school football. 

 

It's too great a risk with little to gain because League hasn't developed the infrastructure necessary to support this bid.  Ironically the sport that probably should hold a world cup in the U.S is you guessed it Rugby Union. A League world cup in the U.S would just benefit them.

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Agree to disagree, and appreciate the dialogue - nobody said it would be easy or without risk.

Curious, as a "USARL Fan, what do you think Rugby League looks like in 10 years - in England, Australia, and in the US?

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Everything depends on the NFL. They will put a team in London within a few years.  It will be a success.  Where do they go from there? Probably Berlin.  If however they decide to put a team in Manchester Rugby League in the U.K is in serious trouble.  Conversely if they put a team in Sydney Rugby League is in even bigger trouble.  And they know all this. I was in China helping(translation, introducing people to the game, marketing) to put together an NFL game in Beijing in the 2000's, recession hit and the whole thing went down the tubes. It's where I first learned about the game watching it in bars in Beijing with Aussies. But all the NFL officials knew all about RL and its similarities to gridiron and how it was a logical expansion point.  The reverence with which Hayne has been treated, as well as Marshawn Lynch when he visited, the ratings for Super Bowl all show fertile ground for the NFL.  People believe Hayne succeeded or partially succeeded in the most difficult "football" code in the world and it has given him huge popularity.

 

In ten years RL development in the U.S will be where it is now pretty much non existent.  I don't think this matters to much because Union will not have gone anywhere either.  Its has some amateur support but has little commercial appeal.  The national team is awful.  I would liken Unions situation in the U.S to Lacrosse.  Lacrosse actually has almost 400,000 participants compared to Unions 100,000.  Lacrosse has great collegiate support.  But this doesn't translate into commercial viability.  The Lacrosse pro league has almost no T.V coverage the players barely get paid and the attendances are super low. 

 

In addition Rugby Union is a really boring game to watch.  I always tell Union fans if you like long periods where nothing is happening, loads of strategy, and fat guys who are really valuable to the team just watch the NFL!  At its best League is like basketball on grass, the halves remind me of point guards, and it has the improvisational flair of Jazz.

 

So I don't think Union will be in a much better place commercially in the U,S  ten years from now.  The NFL is way more entertaining than a 6 nations could hope to be. I wouldn't be too worried after the big crowd in Chicago the All blacks will always be a draw they are one of the most famous non-soccer teams in the world.

 

I do think if RL wants to penetrate the U.S market they should take a page out of the NFL's playbook in the U.K.  The NFL did not decide to hold the entire playoffs and Super Bowl in England first time out. (like this world cup bid is advocating). They held individual games and then worked up to a series of games and finally a team will be in London. An NRL game should be played every year, then a series of NRL games, than a group in a World Cup.  Than maybe an NRL team would be based in the U.S.  Don't put the cart before the horse.

 

Thanks for listening!

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RLWC2021USA, on 27 Sept 2016 - 3:41 PM, said:

Thanks for the reply....

1. Host City Sports Commissions and/or world-class NFL and MLS stadiums from more than 10 major US and Canadian cities (NY, San Jose, Orlando, Denver, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Houston, Honolulu, Vancouver, Toronto) have enthusiastically stepped forward to be part of a North American RLWC (yes, Canada wants to join us).

 

 

I hadn't heard Toronto mentioned till this- assuming BMO?

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