DC to join Pro 12?

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DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:39 am

Washington DC is reportedly set to join the Guinness Pro 12 in 2018. Iain Morrison notes that the USA capital is to have a team join the Celtic-Italian League.

Before expansion to the USA happens, though, the league will already have two South African teams. Morrison notes that the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs are to join from Super Rugby for the upcoming season. This will make it the Pro 14.

The competition will become European, African and North American the following season. Washington DC’s inclusion would make it a 15 team league. It would also join Super Rugby in having this many teams. With the Southern Kings, Cheetahs and either the Melbourne Rebels or Western Force being cut Super Rugby will revert to 15 teams.

Pro 12 expansion may require an altered format. At present the 12 teams each play home-and-away against their eleven rivals. Morrison points out that potentially there could be a format of either one league or two conference.

Expansion would drastically alter the travel time for teams involved. At present there are no major distances between competing teams. Scotland to Italy is a 3-hour flight. Johannesburg to London is far further, taking 12 hours. From there connections would be required to Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

A flight from Washington DC to Ireland is notably shorter, taking around 7 hours. The proposed location for a USA side had initially been Houston. Sources close to Americas Rugby News have said the Texan bid was considered underwhelming by Pro 12 authorities. Moreover flight time from Houston to the UK or Ireland is two hours further than from Washington DC.

The proposed venue for home games is Audi Field, a new stadium currently under construction that will also house Major League Soccer franchise DC United. Its planned capacity is 20,000. Current USA Rugby Chairman of the Board Will Chang is a former investor in DC United but sold his 35% stake in 2016.


http://www.americasrugbynews.com/2017/0 ... o-12-2018/
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:45 am

IMHO, they should make it a Pro 16, with the Cheetahs, Kings, DC & the Sunwolves (leave Perth in Super Rugby in their place).

Or what about a combined team from the central Russian city of Krasnoyarsk, whose two clubs dominate Russian professional rugby competition and contested the final of the European Trophy at Murrayfield this year (beating a bunch of British, Italian and Romanian sides along the way)?
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:47 am

Interesting comments:

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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby Puja » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:12 pm

I just don't get the point of this expansion. Will enough Americans really care about having a single team in what is definitely the most minor of the big European leagues? Enough for it to be worthwhile taking on the time differences and travel times/costs? Is there actually any money in this at all?

And from the American perspective, will they really gain from having one side representing their vast country, and getting stuffed every week by all and sundry? Especially if it undercuts the nascent MLR which actually has the potential to build into something useful and nationwide.

That's not even getting into the bizarre idea of having some South African teams playing in one hemisphere and some in another. Surely we'll end up with a partitioned Germany effect, where anyone with talent skips over the dividing line to join a SR team and the Pro 1X sides are the poor relations harbouring only those without the ambition or talent to leap the divide?

If the Pro 12 wanted to expand and look at new markets, you'd've thought there was cash to be made from Spain, Georgia and Germany (especially with Wild at the helm), without needing to leave the continent and screw up what they have.

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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:32 pm

I don't think it's a done deal yet, and it may well be that expansion does not go ahead due to prior contractual arrangements. Of course, we have to apply exactly the same logic to the Pro 12 as to Super Rugby. If they started including teams from outside the recognized geographical zone, the competition will lose its regional identity, and if any of those teams are below par, that's going to lower the standard, obviously. On top of which, there is simply too much rugby being played these days, which is going to further decrease crowd sizes. The likes of Japan and North America would be better off developing their own domestic competitions, IMHO.
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby morepork » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:52 pm

Is all this actually happening or is it hype?

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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:51 pm

My guess is it's hype. Pro 12 aren't going to be as silly as Super Rugby. South African teams AND an American side adds up to a square peg in a round hole, just like Japan and SA playing in the same Super Rugby conference...
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:14 pm

Latest update on this suggests there will be more teams coming - from all over :o

Will this be another freak show contortionist act of the Super Rugby variety? :?:

The Guinness PRO14 will be expanding with a team from the east coast of America set to join the competition, according to chief executive Martin Anayi.

And the competition could be bolstered further with a side coming in from Germany after the introduction of South African teams the Super Kings and Cheetahs this summer.

But it's the American side, thought to be based in Washington, that is set to turn the cross-hemisphere clubs tournament into a transatlantic competition.

News of a American side joining the PRO14 comes in a week when Newcastle and Saracens take their Aviva Premiership clash to Philadelphia next weekend


http://www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugb ... 606573.amp
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby Lizard » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:09 am

Why Germany over Georgia/Romania/Russia/Spain?

Rugby-wise, surely a team from a country ranked in the top 20 would be preferable?

$$$-wise, I can see that Germany might be an easier place to do business and for fans than former Eastern bloc, but Spain would be just as good, surely, in that respect.
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:29 am

Yes, I think Eastern Europe is out of the frame right now due to financial limitations - and the top Russian teams are about as far away from Britain as North America is. But Germany obviously makes sense in terms of economic factors and geographical proximity. There seems to be a growing market for non-mainstream sports there (ie something other than football) right now, with cricket also making vast inroads apparently. I'm not sure Spain holds quite the same appeal, especially with the game's strongholds being the smallish city of Valladolid and various towns of the Basque Country. Not sure where the players are going to come from, but I actually think the prospect of Germany being involved is quite exciting for the future of the game, and am more concerned with the possibility of an expanded Pro 14 over-extending itself by including a North American team on top of the South Africans and just ending up as a meaningless circus like Super rugby has been over the past couple of years.
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby Lizard » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:38 am

I guess Germans wouldn't have much expectation of a pro sports team there being only German players?
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:13 pm

I've heard the pro cricket teams there are all foreigners. They'd be used to it from football, of course. Obviously you'd want to have a few Germans in the squad though.
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby Puja » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:00 pm

The advantage of the Pro 12 for a German side is that they do have the weaker sides of Zebre, Treviso and Dragons (and Kings and Cheetahs? ;)), who even a team of mostly Germans would feel comfortable about being with on the same pitch.

The Germans have the major advantage over Spain of having Hans-Peter Wild, who is the Capri-Sun millionaire who funds Stade Francais and a lot of German rugby. The startup money is there.

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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:24 pm

Heidelberger is already fully professional, apparently; so that would be the obvious choice.
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:29 am

Saracens' promotional game with Newcastle managed to fill barely a third of an 18 K stadium in Philadelphia last night. Americans just aren't going to be interested in a couple of English club rugby teams they've never heard of, and by all accounts it was a fairly boring encounter.
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby Puja » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:53 am

Discussed it on the EMB - a venue a thousand miles from the nearest MLR team, 6 months before the MLR season starts, in an area where the rugby fans are normally active players but scheduling it to clash with the opening game of the amateur season, with two teams that are noted for their suffocating defence - not entirely sure what kind of impact that game was supposed to make on the US market. Even of the off-chance that someone was intrigued by that awful game, there'd be nowhere they could go to get a further rugby fix, so it'd fizzle out anyway.

Surely it'd've made more sense to have a game in Houston, on the first weekend of MLR rugby, with a derby between two of the Texas teams as a double-header, picking two teams like Wasps and Sale, who are known for their attacking and maybe less for their defence. That would be of much more benefit to American rugby, surely?

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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Sun Sep 17, 2017 3:27 pm

Just seems like a classic case of over-estimating one's own importance to me. I'm a New Zealander and I'm not the least interested in British club rugby. I don't know any New Zealanders or Australians who are, in fact. So why on earth would Americans be interested in it? The only way you're going to fill stadiums in the US right now is with elite international teams like the All Blacks, Wallabies, Springboks & England. That's about the level NFL is at.
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby Puja » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:48 pm

rowan wrote:Just seems like a classic case of over-estimating one's own importance to me. I'm a New Zealander and I'm not the least interested in British club rugby. I don't know any New Zealanders or Australians who are, in fact. So why on earth would Americans be interested in it? The only way you're going to fill stadiums in the US right now is with elite international teams like the All Blacks, Wallabies, Springboks & England. That's about the level NFL is at.


I will note that the Premiership television rights have recently been signed for a not insubstantial sum to NBC and is getting pretty solid viewing figures. So clearly there are some Americans interested in it - maybe it's just that New Zealanders and Australians are remarkably self-involved?

That notwithstanding, this game was a stupid idea and, sadly, I think is due to be funded by the Yanks for another 2 years to come, for what little good it will do them.

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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:54 pm

What sort of figures? Possibly inflated the way World Rugby likes to inflate World Cup viewing figures. I really don't think anybody in America outside the established rugby community is going to be the slightest bit attracted to it. But let's remember America has a fairly sizable rugby community (even if it does become miniscule on a per capita basis).

Yes, New Zealanders have their own club, provincial and Super Rugby teams to follow, of course. So plenty to be self-involved in. I think that's a part of the problem with attendances at the moment, and perhaps even the main problem - too much rugby.
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby Lizard » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:46 am

If we're going to rely on the UK and Europe to promote rugby in the US, can someone please let them know that this sort of shit is Not OK:

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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:56 am

Well, I don't think we can regard English rugby clubs as global rugby brands, that's for sure. They only average several thousand fans per regular season home fixture within Britain itself, so it's hardly surprising a match in Philadelphia didn't surpass that. Full marks for trying, of coure. I don't want to suggest they've done something evil and sinister by arranging that game; far from it. I just think the exercise was a little pointless. Let's see how much the World 7s Cup captures the American public's imagination when it is held in San Fran next year. Hopefully that'll create some kind of platform for rugby to build on.
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby morepork » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:51 pm

Maybe the Kings and Cheetahs could join the American domestic comp and, you know, run riot.

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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby rowan » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:33 pm

That's a fairly silly idea, to be honest.
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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby morepork » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:50 pm

Ummm....

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Re: DC to join Pro 12?

Postby Puja » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:11 pm

Apparently "lessons have been learned" and next season's fixture will be set back to the March date that it was last time, so not competing with college football, NFL, or people actually participating in rugby, and with less humid and sweltering weather. Raises the question of who on earth though putting it mid-September, to clash with the opening weekend of the amateur rugby season, was a good idea in the first place.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/41314841

Hopefully, they'll pick a non-Newcastle team next time so that there will actually be half a spectacle to watch. If we must persist in this nonsense, let's at least do it well.

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