Major League Rugby adds teams in Boston, Atlanta and NYC
Major League Rugby, which hosted its first season in 2018 with seven teams that included the New Orleans Gold, a side owned by former LSU and New Orleans RFC standout Tim Falcon, will add new member teams in Atlanta and Boston for the 2020 season, the third season for the young league.
Austin, Houston, Glendale, New Orleans, San Diego, Seattle and Salt Lake City entered teams in MLR’s just completed inaugural season, with Seattle beating Glendale for the league’s first championship.
Boston and Atlanta, two cities known for their passionate sports fans, will join a third expansion team, Rugby United New York (who begin league play in 2019) and solidify the league’s presence throughout the East Coast’s largest media markets.
Atlanta is a city known for its love of sports, and rugby specifically. Nearby Life University in Marietta boasts one of the country’s top college rugby programs and produced many current MLR players. The new team in Boston will build on the city’s rich sports legacy and deep rugby history. The first rugby match played in the US was played in Boston between McGill and Harvard in 1875. Today, the New England region is home to the highest number of rugby clubs per capita with over 230 programs, including Mystic River Rugby Club, winners of two of the last three USA Rugby National D1 Club Championships.
“We are excited to expand the league to Atlanta and Boston, giving millions of rugby fans a front row seat to the action of the game on a professional level,” said Dean Howes, Commissioner of MLR. “Rugby is the fastest growing sport in America, and with these additions will now be represented in 11 major media markets across the US.”
Current MLR teams are engaged in community development activities including youth camps and partnerships with local collegiate and high school programs, and the same types of programs can be expected in the future in New York, Atlanta and Boston.
Launched in April 2018, the league is an initiative of the American rugby community, in partnership with private investors such as Falcon, who believe that American rugby can thrive at the highest levels as a commercial enterprise, on the international scene and as a participation sport at the youth and senior level.