This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
New league to expand to four tournaments across the US in 2023 and 17 by 2026
Plan to add four US franchises per year with goal of reaching 16 domestic teams
Live betting a key pillar of new â€˜Race Track Rugbyâ€™ series
A new US-based rugby sevens series is being launched in 2022, offering its 16 teams a share of a US$1 million prize pot.
The newly-founded Rugby Football League (RFL), led by chief executive and World Rugby alumnus Philippe Bourdarias, has secured a US-based consortium to back its sevens series, which will kick off in Las Vegas in October 2022.
After the first event, featuring 12 international teams and four US franchises, the RFL will transition by 2026 to ultimately comprise of 16 domestic teams competing with select international sides across 17 tournaments. The RFL is aiming to add four new teams and four new events per year between 2023 and 2026.
Announcing the new â€˜Race Track Rugbyâ€™ sevens series, the RFL said that it will create a strong live betting proposition, working alongside leading technology companies to incorporate new innovations and gamification aspects.
Joining Bourdarias â€“ who departed as World Rugbyâ€™s general manager of competitions in 2019 â€“ are Rob Cornelius, the former organiser of the Las Vegas Sevens, and Eugene Delaney, a former European Rugby Champions Cup executive. Cornelius becomes the RFLâ€™s chief operating operator, while Delaney will serve as a gaming and commercial advisor.
â€œThe RFL is an amazing development for the game of rugby in the US. There is a huge appetite for rugby sevens events in the US, as shown by the record-breaking RWC Sevens 2018 in San Francisco and the success of the Las Vegas Sevens over the years,â€� Bourdarias said.
â€œOur â€˜Race Track Rugbyâ€™ concept will enable us to leverage the fast-growing live betting market, providing sportsbooks with a fantastic opportunity for customer acquisition and engagement. Given our unique positioning, we are already in partnership talks with US and European operators.â€�