Scottish Rugby in link-up with new US franchise
Benefits: Mark Dodson (pic: SNS Group)
Scottish Rugby has become the first Tier 1 national governing body to link with a club in the newly-sanctioned Major League Rugby competition in the United States.
A relationship has been formed with new expansion team Old Glory DC, based in Washington, which will play in an expanded 12-team MLR competition from February 2020.
Scottish Rugby has taken a minority stake in the east coast side and will provide a combination of financial and rugby support while chief operating officer Dominic McKay will sit on the franchise board.
The strategic partnership was born out of conversations in the US market around expanding the PRO14, and Scottish Rugby’s board has taken the decision to align with MLR at the start.
“This is a very exciting moment for both Scottish Rugby and our new partners, Old Glory DC,” said McKay.
“We have been working with the team behind this new franchise for some time, and I’m delighted we are now in a position to announce our association and support their arrival next season into the MLR.
“The US market has long been a strategic target for us and the potential and passion for rugby will undoubtedly grow in the years to come.
“It is important we are creative and develop opportunities beyond our own borders and we are very much looking forward to growing our relationship with the team in Washington in the years to come.”
Washington is one of America’s rugby hotbeds, with the D.C area boasting 190 clubs and 7,500 players at school, college and club levels.
The MLR season runs from February to June and currently has nine franchises competing in its second season following the arrival of the Toronto Arrows earlier this year.
The number of teams will expand to 12 in 2020 with the inclusion of Old Glory DC along with teams from Atlanta and New England.
Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson added: “We see this relationship as having a number of benefits for rugby in Scotland as well as developing our global rugby footprint.”