Multimedia production and distribution company Grand Prix Entertainment (GPE) is set to launch North America’s first professional rugby sevens league, called the Grand Prix Rugby Football League.
The 16-team competition, which will be abbreviated to the RFL, is designed to showcase rugby sevens ahead of its debut as an Olympic sport at the 2016 Games in Rio.
USA Rugby agreed a contract with the RFL which runs until 2018 and includes exclusive rights to own, operate and globally broadcast the professional sport of rugby sevens.
No start date for the competition has been confirmed. However, according to an official press release, the RFL will kick off with a Phase One championship Tour, featuring four founding franchises versus ’20 of the world’s great teams in the world’s richest sevens championships’.
“Buttressed by exclusively sanctioned and licensed competitive advantages and protections no new sports league in American history has ever enjoyed, Olympic endorsement of the sport, and rugby sevens explosion on the global stage, the time was right for America’s first professional rugby league”, said William Tatham, the founder and chairman of GPE.
“The RFL represents the greatest major market sports franchise opportunity in the last 50 years. Name the last time New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles franchises were all available,” added RFL financial advisor Eric White.