From the Daily Telegraph of . . . who knows? I just steal the stuff that comes to me. But it looks like USA Rugby chief Nigel Melville is rattling the saber about getting in line for pro rugby in America.
SANZAR faces competition from European leagues in infiltrating the North American market, with revelations there have been early discussions about the possibility of including teams from New York and Boston in the Heineken Cup.
Nigel Melville, chief executive of USA Rugby, confirmed to The Daily Telegraph he has held preliminary talks with Europe’s powerbrokers. The
development comes as SANZAR considers the merits of expanding the Super Rugby competition into North America and Asia from 2016.
“Discussions have taken place with Europe, it’s all about timing and looking at opportunity,” Melville said from Colorado yesterday.
“New York, Boston and other areas have appeal to Europe and could be used for teams in the Heineken Cup.”
Melville said that if SANZAR was serious about expansion in 2016, they needed to act now.
He suggested San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle as possible suitable venues for a Super Rugby team, but has floated the idea of a fourth conference that could also include teams from Canada and Argentina.
“It is a huge market, 300 million people, I see Super Rugby as natural way for the big international teams to build their brands in America,” Melville said.
“It all comes down to TV, the audience will be significant, so will the commercial upside. If you want sponsors from the US to get involved they are not going to do that in Australia or New Zealand, they’re going to do it here.
“There is somewhere a fourth conference can come in. Do we have the players to do it tomorrow? No. But in three or four years time, if we knew that would happen, certainly a lot of players would be interested in playing professionally here in Super Rugby.
“There is no point waiting a year out to start making plans, you have to start building now.
“There is general agreement that rugby has to invest time and connect with major international markets – Asia and the US are major markets.
“These are areas that are not really involved at the moment at the right level.”