Aviva Premiership to stage matches in the USA?

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The Times have reported that Premiership Rugby is investigating the possibility of staging at least one Aviva Premiership match in the US next season, with talks allegedly at an ‘advanced stage’.

The idea has been around for some time now – talks of London Irish tapping into the vast Irish population in Boston or New York have been circulating in the past few years. Now, though, Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty has confirmed that rather than an ad hoc arrangement made by individual clubs themselves, a more structured approach is being discussed.

“We are working on plans for a game out there,” McCafferty told The Times. “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 USA]. They have players who are beginning to come through.”

Several clubs are said to be interested. Leicester’s chief executive, Simon Cohen, said they were considering it, but warned against the large cost of the exercise – it would reportedly cost each club in the region of £100,000.

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

Bath’s chairman Bruce Craig said: “There are opportunities to look at coaching opportunities together, academies working together, twin cities, twin teams, leagues. In the future I can see that developing into something pretty significant.”

Saracens and Leicester told the newspaper that they would only consider playing in America as the away team, so that it did not affect their home crowds.

There’s no doubt that rugby is closing the gap on American Football, partly because it is seen as a cheaper and less phyiscally dangerous alternative for younger players, and partly because of the ascension of the sevens game to the 2016 Olympics. The USA team recently qualified for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

What do you think of the plans to stage Aviva Premiership games in the USA? Is it a good idea, or a waste of money?

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

4 thoughts on “Aviva Premiership to stage matches in the USA?

  1. “Saracens and Leicester told the newspaper that they would only consider playing in America as the away team, so that it did not affect their home crowds.”

    Hmmmm, this would be the same Saracens that TWICE proposed taking one of their Heineken cup home games to South Africa, I take it?

    1. correct and Belgium if I remember correctly. Why would a prospective season ticket purchaser bother when he /she would have to travel to the US for a game? The people running the club game in England remind me of a whistle happy referee. Important but with no real feel for the game. Eventually the fans will loose patience and move on.

      1. To be fair, the Belgium game was during their nomadic year when they could only play a set number of games at Vicarage Road and Allianz Park wasn’t completed. But I *do* remember the outcry from Sarries supporters when they were told about the potential SA trip a matter of weeks before the game!

  2. Taking a game in season is a bit rough. Play on the Friday/Saturday fly out on the Sunday for a game the following Saturday, and return flight the day after.

    At least the time difference for South Africa/Belgium isn’t so bad.

    Why not do a pre-season ,4 team, knock-out tournament? Mix youth and experience as with any pre-season friendly.

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