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Rugby World Cup: Don’t ruck with America

Rugby

March 28, 2022
PHIL WALTER - WORLD RUGBY/WORLD RUGBY VIA GETTY IMAGES
PHIL WALTER - WORLD RUGBY/WORLD RUGBY VIA GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: The 2033 women’s and 2031 men’s Rugby World Cups could be coming to America. World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin said Thursday that the organization is “not talking to anybody else” about hosting rights. We said it onceand we’ll say it again: keep tabs on women’s rugby.

The details: Hosting both World Cups would cost USA Rugby around $500 million, with additional expenses likely to include organizing other international events leading up to both World Cups, in order to create hype and grow the North American rugby fanbase.

  • The World Rugby council will make a final decision on May 12th. Stay tuned.

Zooming out: Though it’s been recently ousted by pickleball, rugby was the fastest growing sport in the U.S. in 2018. And hosting World Cups has proved instrumental in the stateside development of international sports — U.S. Soccer centered its 1990s growth plan around the 1994 men’s and 1999 women’s World Cups, to great success.

  • Women’s rugby is quickly becoming big business — as we mentioned Friday, Mastercard and TikTok just joined the party. World Rugby’s collaboration with the U.S. — a country with growing interest (and pockets!) in women’s sports — will be key to the sport’s maturation.