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The Future of the Heineken Cup In Doubt?

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    The*NFL Network*andPremier Rugby Limited, the parent company of The Aviva Rugby Premiership in England, will soon partner in an initiative which, if successful, has the potential to result in the creation of North America's own professional rugby league.
    Over the past year, there has been anincreasing amount of buzz*within the rugby community concerning the potential of a U.S. based professional rugby league.* As of this morning—when news of the partnership broke in*The Guardian—it is clear that the market opportunities have caught the attention of the NFL Network; a group whose executives are constantly on the hunt for compelling content to feed their massive audience.The feasibility test will be a match. It is set to be played in*Gillette Stadium near Boston on August 10, and it will be called the Independence Cup.
    The contest would see the Premiership's*London Irish*face off against a team of American athletes; a team whose recruitment and rugby training is set to take place in the interim. The American-based squad would likely be supplemented by experienced overseas players not currently under contract.*Another match—possibly against a different Aviva Premiership Rugby team—could be played a week later in England

    My own*exclusive Bleacher Report interviews*have previously gauged the interest levels of both of the world's internationally structured professional rugby competitions—The RaboDirect Pro12*and*Super Rugby—in regards to North American expansion.In talking to me, Super Rugby's CEO Greg Peters was clear that he saw potential in the huge North American commercial market.

    What we see is that the introduction of Rugby Sevens into the Olympics has been a great platform for the growth of the game generally. Not for a moment would I suggest that either Canada or the United States would be new rugby markets, because both countries have been playing for years...Super Rugby is about tribalism, so what we have to do is assess the community interest on the part of rugby fans, and potential rugby fans, in some of these new markets.That notion of assessing potential interest seems to be exactly what the NFL and Premier Rugby have in mind.*

    This new partnership may well have begun a race to establish sporting and content rights against Super Rugby, an organization whose traditional media partner has been*FOX.According to Tom Dart, who broke the story in*The Guardian, the new deal involves a group of American investors who are seeking to coordinate the player recruitment and logistical challenges necessary to create a professional player pool.The promoters and producers, Minnesota-based RugbyLaw, would, upon completion of a successful test series, look for investors to supply the tens of millions of dollars needed to establish a string of franchises on the American East Coast.Such a condensed regional approach would have many advantages; including easy access for potential media partners, as well as reduced travel costs for teams.

    George Robertson of RugbyLaw spoke inThe Guardian*about the demands of setting up such a competition.We would need to swiftly identify and develop 15 then 30 then 100 international elite level rugby union XV's players from the graduating*NCAA*Division One athletes and with NFL or CFL players who wish to have another contact football career option. All they require is the appropriate respect paid to their ability and professional grade coaching.

    We will provide both.The richest resource America can present to the world of rugby union will be the thousands of pro-level athletes currently not playing rugby union - the application of a well-thought-out system to find them, identify them, and then coach them.There is no need to re-invent the wheel in how to find elite American rugby union talent - America is already the undisputed global leader in professional contact football with the NFL and NCAA - we will simply implement the same system starting with a combine.

    The story of Carlin Isles, one of the world's fastest ever rugby players, has people excited about rugby in America.Organizing a team of 22 rugby players to play in the initial New England match would be job one, but if that task can be achieved, Mr. Robertson's British partners are sure there will be a huge demand for ticket sales.Organizers at Premier Rugby believe that the London Irish brand has the potential to be a huge draw in the New England area, as their Communications Director Paul Morgan explained to Bleacher Report.

    Premier Rugby is thrilled to be a part of such a potentially exciting partnership and believes that the London Irish brand will be of huge interest in the historic New England region.*We are at the early stages of this venture; however, we are keenly interested to gauge the appeal of our product in new markets. We believe these events, which have the potential to reach huge audiences both live and on television, could serve as a good step in gauging such interest in America.Mr. Morgan also confirmed that Premier Rugby would have more comments on this new initiative in the coming days.*So how successful could such a venture realistically be?

    Rugby observers in North America and around the world will be watching this very carefully. Past such initiatives such as the*Grand Prix Sevens—a highly publicized private tournament—have also held the promise bringing rugby professionalism to North American sports and media markets, beforecollapsing under the weight of financing and logistics.Furthermore, it is unclear how much raw American talent is to be included in this exhibition series, and how successful such an effort would be.
    The English Premiership represents one of the highest standards of rugby in the world, and it is difficult to believe that any quickly assembled group of athletes – let alone players with limited rugby experience – could reach that standard on such short notice.Still, most would agree that the basic elements for the success of such a scheme exist.
    Elite player training for Canadian Football League (CFL), NFL and professional rugby teams has become so similar in recent years that several athletes have successfully crossed over between the two sports.
    "Hell, I'm not saying I'm an angel, but when it came to dirty tricks I couldn't hold a candle to the Irish Mafia" Jimmy Hoffa

    Comment


      http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles...partner-in-usa

      all fanciful stuff Capt A.
      "Hell, I'm not saying I'm an angel, but when it came to dirty tricks I couldn't hold a candle to the Irish Mafia" Jimmy Hoffa

      Comment


        Or, to translate: the French have left us hanging, so bang goes the European competition we promised BT.

        Edit: got it. McCafferty, this time last year:

        Originally posted by "Honest Mark" McCafferty
        We do not want to go down the Anglo‑French Cup route, but if nothing changes it is something we would have to do.
        http://www.theguardian.com/sport/201...deal-broadcast

        Not a word about it now, you note.
        Last edited by Thomond78; 20-August-2013, 15:25.
        Ceterum censeo INM irrumandum esse.

        Comment


          Originally posted by Thomond78 View Post
          Or, to translate: the French have left us hanging, so bang goes the European competition we promised BT.
          I'd say that is close to the money alright.

          Comment


            I'm not sure who are bigger clowns, the PRL for selling magic beans or BT for buying them.
            Please support Milford Hospice. Click here to donate.

            Comment


              Originally posted by Thomond78 View Post
              Or, to translate: the French have left us hanging, so bang goes the European competition we promised BT.

              Edit: got it. McCafferty, this time last year:



              http://www.theguardian.com/sport/201...deal-broadcast

              Not a word about it now, you note.
              Originally posted by rathbaner View Post
              FFR president Pierre Camou summoned senior representatives of the six competing nations amid signs that the French clubs, far from quitting, are willing to get back to the negotiating table.

              Camou, a retired 68-year-old banker, is understood to have backed up his call for the French clubs to get back in line by warning that they will be replaced in Europe if necessary by makeshift French teams chosen on a regional basis.

              Very different spin there to the on peddled by (or to) The Guardian.

              All coming together rather nicely I think, What's the englsh for schadenfreude?
              Munster – Champions of Europe 2006, 2008, 2020.

              Comment


                No shame in this joy. Not one bit of it. :D
                Ceterum censeo INM irrumandum esse.

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                  Don't start counting chickens people, please.

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                    True.

                    FWIW, I think it'll fall out as a 20-team HEC (which is daft, because it sorts nothing), without the English.
                    Ceterum censeo INM irrumandum esse.

                    Comment


                      I don't understand the advantage in reducing the number of teams down to 20.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by the plastic paddy View Post
                        I don't understand the advantage in reducing the number of teams down to 20.
                        Less competition for the English clubs?

                        Comment


                          I think the french wanted it shortened so as to shorten their season by a few weeks.
                          "Hell, I'm not saying I'm an angel, but when it came to dirty tricks I couldn't hold a candle to the Irish Mafia" Jimmy Hoffa

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by NotreDameRFC View Post
                            I think the french wanted it shortened so as to shorten their season by a few weeks.
                            Why don't they get the same size fecking league as everyone else then!!!!

                            Comment


                              Far easier to qualify for the 1/4's of a 20 team competition than a 24 team one. 5 pool winners and 3 best runners up just seems easier to me than 6 pool winners and 2 runners up
                              I am the million man.

                              Comment


                                The English cannot afford to be outside the HEC.

                                And the HEC can't afford it either.

                                I've no problem reducing the teams. You should have to qualify for it.
                                I always knew Madigan was a closet Scrum Half. Ignore All things that suggest Continuity.

                                Comment

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