New York in line for rugby league team

By AAP,

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    Ambitious plans have been unveiled for a New York rugby league team to follow Toronto into the English game.

    A business plan has been submitted to the Rugby Football League and organisers, who say they have the backing of wealthy benefactors and hope to get the go-ahead in time to enter the competition in 2019.

    The project has been inspired by the success of Toronto, who achieved promotion from Kingstone Press League 1 at the first attempt and drew crowds of 7,000, but the founders of the New York club hope to get the go-ahead to enter at Championship level, just one step away from Super League.

    Co-founder Tom Scott told a media briefing in Leeds that, like Toronto, the New York club would not seek any central funding and have already secured $US10 million ($A12.64m) in investment.

    “We have a small consortium of high-networking individuals, one member of which has made New York his home, and all have a significant love for the game,” Scott said. “We will be self-sufficient.”

    Like Toronto, New York would cover all travel and accommodation costs of visiting teams after securing agreements with a travel company and hotel chain and play in blocks of home and away fixtures.

    Organisers say playing in the summer would avoid a direct clash with the NFL and they are confident of building a fan base of 10,000 in the first year, doubling the figure within three years to bring it on a par with the New York Red Bulls soccer team.

    The team would be based at a training complex in Warwick, an hour’s drive from New York City, and play at the 25,000-seat Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, a 20-minute train ride from the World Trade Centre.

    The development comes in the wake of a pledge from Toronto founder Eric Perez to launch a second Canadian club in the next six months and a prediction that there could be up to six North American teams within five years.

    The United States will host the 2025 World Cup and the Hawks’ 2017 World Cup captain Mark Offerdahl, who played in New York’s tri-state area for the Connecticut Wildcats, is confident the project can be successful.

    “There’s lots of potential,” said Offerdahl, who played in the Championship for London Broncos this year. “Rugby union has gone crazy in the last 10 years but they also love rugby league.

    “At the time of the last World Cup, the game was fractured in the US but now everyone is working together and new teams are forming every year. There are 13 or 14 now with a lot of ex-college players who pick up the game very easily.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (60)

    • October 16th 2017 @ 9:56am
      Fred said | October 16th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      Excellent news. With a second Canadian team to be announced within 6 months, the greatest game is really going places in the northern hemisphere.

      In the three tiers in which there is promotion/relegation up there, there will now be teams from five different countries spanning the Atlantic: England, Wales, France, Canada and the US.

      Just waiting for the envious trolls with their usual line: “but, but… rugby league is only played in eastern Australia, Auckland and northern England”. Lol.

      • Roar Guru

        October 16th 2017 @ 2:59pm
        Riley Pettigrew said | October 16th 2017 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

        But, but… rugby league is only played in eastern Australia, Auckland and northern England.

        In all seriousness, it’s great to see the English competition expanding. We could have between 4 and 6 teams by the time the next World Cup rolls around in 2021. Hamilton and New York will provide a massive rivalry with Toronto. I’m quite shocked that Liberty (or whatever this New York franchise is named) is going for the New Jersey-based model as opposed to the actual New York state/city based model.

        Northern hemisphere rugby league is moving in the right direction.

    • Roar Guru

      October 16th 2017 @ 10:37am
      John Billiris said | October 16th 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

      Fantastic! Cannot wait to see them play. The Wolfpack have generated a decent level of media attention (including a write-up in the NY Times) so I am sure this NY team will gain some headlines. There are plenty of Aussies, Kiwis and Brits living in the NY area so generating fan support shouldn’t be difficult. Bring it on!

      • October 16th 2017 @ 10:49am
        Fred said | October 16th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        It’s also handy that (as far as North America goes) Toronto, Hamilton (or will it be Montreal?) and New York are in a relatively small geographical area i.e. if we were talking New York, LA, Toronto and Vancouver it might start to become unworkable. When you’re talking a trans-Atlantic comp, geography becomes important.

        I can easily see 6 big city North American teams in a relatively small geographical footprint – Toronto, New York, Hamilton, Boston, Montreal and Ottawa. All in a (again, relatively) small circle covering north-east US and south-east Canada.

        While on the other side of the pond, the English teams are obviously concentrated in the North.

        If the schedule is well ordered, the English teams could play a group of North American matches from one base, and the North American clubs could play a bunch of matches out of one English base.

        • October 16th 2017 @ 10:51am
          Fred said | October 16th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

          PS it’s perfect timing, with the US and Canada co-hosting the 2025 rugby league world cup, and with the NFL suffering a lot at the moment in terms of crowds and tv viewers (not helped by the political controversy over players and the anthem). I can easily see disgruntled NFL fans embracing league, which is after all the greatest game on earth.

        • Roar Guru

          October 16th 2017 @ 3:03pm
          Riley Pettigrew said | October 16th 2017 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

          You’re right about the North East conurbation being the key area. I’d like to see Toronto, Hamilton, New York, Boston/New England, Philadelphia and Jacksonville (south east). Boston, Philly and Jacksonville already have established rugby league teams which I think they could easily transfer over to compete and have them as ‘original’ clubs versus the glamour clubs of the Wolfpack/Liberty variety.

          Hopefully in the future once we get a pro US league we see Vancouver get a run. They have a good competition up in BC and Alberta is also growing. Plus Hawaii deserves a pro sports team (admittedly logistics would be very hard to work out though).

          • October 16th 2017 @ 3:22pm
            Fred said | October 16th 2017 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

            You make some good points. I’ve followed the fortunes of the Jacksonville Axemen for many years.

            However I think the existing USARL is doing quite well and I think it should stay and keep its existing clubs, probably at a rung below the trans-Atlantic teams. I don’t see why there can’t be two tiers, with a domestic US comp as well as a trans-Atlantic Super League. This would provide a genuine pathway for local North American rugby league players to get signed up with clubs like Toronto/New York, rather than those clubs relying on English/Australasians or unsuccessful gridiron players.

            I think a Toronto or a New York can easily bring in the money to sustain trans-Atlantic competition, but perhaps not a Jacksonville or a Baltimore.

            • October 17th 2017 @ 10:26am
              Jeff Morris said | October 17th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

              The trouble with the really large urban areas is that they already have a very crowded pro sports market. While RL seems to be making a strong go of it so far in Toronto, in general, it might make sense to go for lesser served markets. Of course, that’s the dilemma that all sports have when they go into virgin terrority, do you go where the numbers are but where there are tons of existing sports options or to smaller markets that may not have the population numbers or corporate money. I think perhaps Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Montreal, etc, would be better than New York City. Jacksonville or Hamilton may be too small in terms of sheer numbers (despite the existing footprint in Jacksonville). Any effort is positive though.

            • October 17th 2017 @ 10:26am
              Jeff Morris said | October 17th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

              The trouble with the really large urban areas is that they already have a very crowded pro sports market. While RL seems to be making a strong go of it so far in Toronto, in general, it might make sense to go for lesser served markets. Of course, that’s the dilemma that all sports have when they go into virgin terrority, do you go where the numbers are but where there are tons of existing sports options or to smaller markets that may not have the population numbers or corporate money. I think perhaps Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Montreal, etc, would be better than New York City. Jacksonville or Hamilton may be too small in terms of sheer numbers (despite the existing footprint in Jacksonville). Any effort is positive though.

    • Roar Guru

      October 16th 2017 @ 10:49am
      Nat said | October 16th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      Good luck to them. I wasn’t aware the 2025 WC will be hosted in the USA so if these teams are successful there is a good chance the USA could be very successful by then. As then author states, there are 10s of thousands college grads not getting NFL starts and our physical game could be the perfect option B. Popularity breeds sponsors, TV and a broad audience. It will never be NFL, MLB or NBA but only a small portion of a 340m population means commercial success.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 10:54am
        Fred said | October 16th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        Yep, 2025 world cup will be jointly hosted by the US and Canada.

        There is already an established league comp in the US with teams up and down the east coast. This league provides the bulk of the players in the current American world cup squad. I can easily see that American comp being a feeder comp to North American clubs in the Super League.

    • Roar Guru

      October 16th 2017 @ 11:12am
      Sleiman Azizi said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      What this does is provide pathways and relationships with established rugby league structures.

      The NRL and RFL have heretofore been rather timid in promoting the code.

      League exists around the world, higher standards in some places, lower standards in others.

      Linking those leagues to the established ones is, I think, the most practical way of promoting the code.

      Make use of what exists by linking interested parties to it.

    • October 16th 2017 @ 11:16am
      Andrew said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

      We just have to teach Americans what Rugby League is now..
      Haha isn’t it cute!

      • October 16th 2017 @ 11:49am
        Fred said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

      • Roar Guru

        October 16th 2017 @ 11:52am
        Sleiman Azizi said | October 16th 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

        You mean the 12 clubs and attendant players and support staff that don’t already know about the game?

        Yes, you’re right.

        It is cute.

        • October 16th 2017 @ 12:55pm
          KingCowboy said | October 16th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          This child has been trashing League on other World Cup articles as well. Don’t bother arguing with the uneducated because you are wasting you time.

          • Roar Guru

            October 16th 2017 @ 1:13pm
            Sleiman Azizi said | October 16th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

            Arguing? I’m mocking him. It makes me sound smart 🙂

      • October 16th 2017 @ 12:53pm
        KingCowboy said | October 16th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

        Why do you honestly care? It sounds like a League player picked on you while you were at school and you haven’t gotten over it.

        • October 16th 2017 @ 2:10pm
          Justin Kearney said | October 16th 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

          He has a long history of this behaviour which is symptomatic of some strange and unhealthy obsessive hatred of league.

    • October 16th 2017 @ 1:14pm
      Go warriors said | October 16th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

      With all the expansions going on in Nth America international rugby league could really take off in the next 10 years.

      As far as rankings go now it is no longer the big 3 it is now the big 5 Australia, NZ, England, Tonga and Samoa. In 10 years time it could be the big 10. NZ, Australia, England, France, PNG, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Canada and the USA.

      • October 16th 2017 @ 1:17pm
        Fred said | October 16th 2017 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

        I think in 10 years Lebanon, Jamaica and Serbia will also be quite strong

        • Roar Guru

          October 16th 2017 @ 3:08pm
          Riley Pettigrew said | October 16th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

          Definitely, Eastern Europe is a hotbed for rugby league. It is the fastest growing sport in the region for crying out loud. The expanded World Cup in 2021 is only going to help, I assume either of Canada, Cook Islands, Jamaica or Serbia will join the current teams there. Exciting times ahead!

          • October 16th 2017 @ 3:24pm
            Andrew said | October 16th 2017 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

            Did you say the fastest growing sport in Eastern Europe?
            My god the other sports must be really struggling if you’re bringing those comments to the table!
            Go find a game of Rugby League in Eastern Europe? I bet you can’t

            • October 16th 2017 @ 3:54pm
              Fred said | October 16th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

              Lol I bet I can, there are regular internationals played by Serbia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany (who beat Wales over the weekend), Russia, Ukraine… Serbia especially has a strong rugby league scene and was unlucky to miss this world cup.

              Give it up mate.

            • October 16th 2017 @ 4:12pm
              Justin Kearney said | October 16th 2017 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

              You tell em Andrew! So many lols.

          • October 16th 2017 @ 3:46pm
            Fred said | October 16th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

            For the 2021 worlld cup there’ll be an extra qualifier for the Americas, so either Canada or Jamaica is a definite addition. In the unlikely event that the US makes the quarter finals at this world cup and thereby secures an automatic place at the next world cup, that should mean the US, Canada and Jamaica would all be there.

            I’m not sure what region gets another additional qualifier – probably Europe, maybe the Middle East/Africa?

            • Roar Guru

              October 16th 2017 @ 5:17pm
              Riley Pettigrew said | October 16th 2017 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

              Europe gets another slot with the final team to be decided in a repechage tournament between the winner of Middle East/Africa and Asia-Pacific.

      • Roar Guru

        October 16th 2017 @ 1:18pm
        Sleiman Azizi said | October 16th 2017 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

        As anyone knows, I’m all for the international game. My comments and articles testify to that.

        But until Tonga and Samoa (or anyone else) win matches against Australia, England and New Zealand, then they can’t really be considered as part of the big anything yet.

        They are going to need halves…

        • October 16th 2017 @ 1:32pm
          Fred said | October 16th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

          Sleiman, everyone keeps saying Tonga has strong forwards but nobody in the halves – I don’t think Tui Lolohea is nobody. Admittedly he isn’t Cooper Cronk – but he still was a starting NRL half this year and his new coach Ivan Cleary raved about him.

          I think this year will be the first time (that I can remember) that one of the big 3 will be beaten by a ‘tier 2’ country. It could be Tonga knocking off NZ in the group stage, or it could be Tonga, Fiji or PNG pulling off a surprise in the quarters or semis. Tonga beating NZ wouldn’t surprise me at all (or indeed Samoa or Scotland beating NZ).

          This year is PNG’s best hope in ages, with a champion Hunters spine strengthened by David Mead, Segeyaro etc.

          Fiji has some serious talent. I’m not a Hayne fan, but at his best he’s a star, and the Fijian camp is probably the best environment for him finding that form. Indeed, he credited his time with Fiji in the 2008 world cup for sparking his form in the following NRL seasons.

          • Roar Guru

            October 16th 2017 @ 2:06pm
            Sleiman Azizi said | October 16th 2017 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

            Fair call about Lolohea.

            Still, Australia have had Cronk and Thurston forever now and New Zealand had Johnson and Foran.

            England have lacked in the halves for a while now and so haven’t been able to take full advantage of their world class forwards and backs.

            Lots of nations have great backs and forwards but it’s those pesky halves that I think have separated the big three from the rest.

            Still, anything is possible. I’m tipping an England victory in the final.

            Well, I’m hoping for an England victory in the final with James Graham at halfback, lol.

        • Roar Guru

          October 16th 2017 @ 2:42pm
          Jason Hosken said | October 16th 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

          I know what you’re about, my garage is still full of those Thundercat t-shirts you made me print several years ago. But hey, good times because Ryan Hall isn’t too far away and sales are on the up.

          C’mon SA – how about another article, it’s been too long.

          • Roar Guru

            October 16th 2017 @ 6:25pm
            Sleiman Azizi said | October 16th 2017 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

            The Thundercat has been quiet of late.

            Hope he roars in a couple of weeks time.

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