The USA Rugby and Rugby Football League (RFL) have announced the formation of the US Rugby Sevens Major League, designed to attract the world's best Sevens players to compete for a share of $1 Million prize money.
The RFL launched the initiative on Wednesday, set to kick off in Las Vegas next October, which will see the best players from across the world play against the best from the US for record-breaking prize money.
“We are excited to announce this sanctioning agreement with RFL and their plans to expand the rugby sevens landscape in the US," USA Rugby CEO Ross Young said in a statement.
"The inaugural event in October 2022 is one for all rugby and general sports fans to look forward to as we welcome more first-class international rugby with a focus on US qualified athletes and competition.”
The project is spearheaded by former World Rugby Comp GM Philipe Bourdarias, looking to build off the growing development of the sport in America after RWC Sevens 2018 in San Francisco.
“The RFL is an amazing development for the game of Rugby in the US," the RFL CEO said.
"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.
"We feel that there is a huge growth opportunity for the RFL and Franchises with an innovative model whereby the League centralises all expenses and rights, leaving the fun side of the League (managing the teams) to the Franchisees.”
EMBRACE PRESSURE: Roache backs new culture change
HUNTED: Manenti out for consistency
The inaugural season will feature the top 12 international teams pitted against 4 USA Franchises, with participating teams set to be announced early next year.
From 2023, the RFL confirmed plans to expand to up to 17 tournaments featuring up to 16 American teams.
“Having led the development of the Las Vegas Sevens until 2019, it is truly exciting to see the best of international Rugby Sevens teams coming back to Las Vegas," RFL COO Rob Cornelius added.
There is huge support from key stakeholders who supported the Las Vegas Sevens in the past such as our Rhino Rugby the Official Ball and Equipment of the RFL and from the local community,"
"From my experience, there is a huge opportunity to replicate the Las Vegas success to other major cities and I look forward to developing the League over the next few years.”