DENVER, CO - JUNE 23: A general view of the rugby goal line pylon showing "Denver" and the Rugby League Test Match between England and the New Zealand Kiwis at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on June 23, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Russell Lansford/Getty Images)

Todd Greenberg has stated his intention to take the NRL to the USA.

It almost happened in 2019 but is more than likely to see the greatest game of all visit the United States in 2020. The idea is being floated as a ‘Round Zero’.

On the surface it makes sense.

The USA is a massive, untapped market, and I’m all for expanding the game.

The 2025 World Cup will take place in the USA and Canada so the slow build to the tournament seems to be on.

The Denver test earlier this year, for all the flack it copped for ridiculous travel times, seemed to be a success. A crowd of almost 20,000 showed up, proving there is at least some kind of appetite for the game.

I’m not expressly against the idea, but I’m (NEGATIVITY ALERT) not sold either.

The costs associated with the travel, hotels, and promotion combined with the strain on players and coaching staff alike, I just can’t see the benefit.

Perhaps a one off game, or possibly an Origin game, but a full round of games just doesn’t make sense in a market that has about 300 other sporting options, when a better idea sits, literally, in our back yard.

Despite three NRL contests and the Charity Shield being taken to the bush in 2019, it would be a genuine game-changer for a full round of NRL fixtures to be taken to the people.

Yes, the USA is a MASSIVE potential market. The population alone justifies any attempt to break into the north American market.

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That said, the US have their version of football, basketball, hockey, and baseball each holding huge sections of the sporting public.

Throw in all the college versions of each sport, combined with combat sports and there isn’t exactly a huge gap in the market.

Meanwhile, Australia’s future superstars are growing up outside the city. Kids with Latrell Mitchell jerseys are kicking a footy around. Kids with Holmes across their back are throwing dummies and chip and chasing while the party pies warm in the oven.

My best guess is that a young child growing up in Dallas is more likely to have Dak Prescott on their wall than Tommy Turbo.

I’ve always been a big supporter of getting your back yard in order before trying to take over the world.

The NRL, rightfully, talked up the fact that the three NRL games being taken to the country was the most in recent history. That’s awesome. Throw in the charity shield and that’s four games being taken to the people.

An entire NRL round would double that in one weekend. Tell me that isn’t special.

Sure, it won’t generate the press of a USA adventure, but with the north American World Cup still seven years away. There is plenty of time to build anticipation for an international tournament using NRL club sides.

OR we could take the game to the people FAR more likely to travel to an NRL game this season, or next, or next, etc etc.

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Again, I’m certainly not against an NRL game visiting the USA. I think it’s a great idea. Open the season over there if need be. An entire NRL round though, just doesn’t make sense.

I can’t imagine too many NRL stars would be excited to take 14 hour flights to play a game, only to catch a return flight.

We hear so much about player burn out. Throw in 28 hours of flights but jet lag. Can’t see a parade to celebrate this idea from the players.

The USA certainly have the stadiums to host a round of NRL action but I can’t see too many sell out crowds in those massive stadiums.

A New Zealand vs England Test match only drew 19,500 people.

Can you imagine what a Titans/Raiders clash would draw.

I hate to be negative and I’m all for anything to grow the game, but I’d love to see that bush footy magic weekend dream become a reality before our game tries to tackle California.

If you’re going to grow the game, Perth are crying out for a side. Central Queensland and central New South Wales are standing there with their collective arms out stretched.

Tasmania might as well not exist. Have we given up on South Australia?

Seems these markets are probably a little more in our scope right now than down town Houston.

13 COMMENTS

  1. You raise some good points, but taking one-off games over there is what constantly hasn’t worked for rugby league for so long. Of course, there’s undoubted potential in the bush, but there’s so much more in the USA, in terms of putting our game on the world stage to the degree that it deserves to be. Whilst you’re right that american fans have their american sports, we can use that to our advantage. The NRL takes place in the NFL off season, with little overlap. The idea that the Toronto Wolfpack have had is to bring a game with as much speed, athleticism and most importantly, big hits to the NFL fanbase.

    Another thing is that several NRL clubs are named after NFL clubs. Fans of the Tennessee Titans can go for Gold Coast. Fans of the Oklahoma Raiders can go for Canberra. Fans of the Carolina Panthers can go for Penrith. The Broncos, Tigers and Cowboys also have respective NFL teams. There’s also the Eagles and Dolphins for the Sea Eagles and Sharks. If we were to target the cities with these NFL teams, not having the whole round in one place, we could draw crowds and interest through that.

    That being said, we do need to add teams in the places within australia that you mentioned. I’m not sure about Tasmania, but Perth, central QLD and central NSW do need teams. It’s just a matter of practically, who goes?

    • πŸ‘πŸ» πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

      Btw, it’s Oakland Raiders (my team) not Oklahoma Raiders. Also the Seattle Seahawks as well the Philadelphia Eagles can both represent Manly.

      Other than the Rams there are no barnyard animals, so no Roosters but there are the Chicago Bears (just in case the Roosters decide to merge with the North Sydney Bears). πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      And yes, there are no Rabbits either in the NFL. They just eat them in fricassee fashion in the American midwest along with their fried chicken! πŸ˜‰

      • Don’t worry mate, I’ve already got my Carolina Panthers. Roosters fans could go Patriots, with the whole red, white and blue thing. But you’re right about the bears. Them along with the Jets have respective NFL teams. Old Steelers fans even have an NFL team

        • The Brisbane Broncos, Canberra Raiders, Gold Coast Titans and Illawarra Steelers were all influenced by the NFL in choosing their emblems/logos I think. Pittsburgh was a steel town, like Wollongong/Illawarra, so that was where “Steelers” came from.

          So if you are a Panthers fan you must have been following the NFL no earlier than 1995/1996 then? I have been following the Raiders since 1980/1981. My son is a Steelers fan btw.

    • Surely 1 west Sydney team can go and 1 central Sydney team. St merge can solely operate from the gong, bench second Brisbane team, see what Perth has to offer. Or easier still, let all former glory teams play for a chance at the nrl, run elite 13 team comp, all play each other twice and finals, team with wooden spoon relegated to 2nd div, minor Premieres from 2nd division rise to nrl. All teams can play in NRL if good enough.

      • Does Saints playing 5 more games at the gong achieve anything??
        Stupid comment.

        Oh & the old chestnut of promotion & relegation – done the death
        Stupid comment #2

  2. Who cares. USA is the way forwards but greedy clubs and greedy NRL officials don’t want to spend the money and risk losing their stature. Soccer is getting a stronger foothold in American markets after using the right blueprint of expansion in the country. League, due to its own greed and stupidity, will forever live in its own fishbowl of Australia where it is equal 1st sport with AFL, New Zealand where it is considered a mugs game compared to Union and the Pacific Islands.

    It is a legitimate shame as League would be a hit in the states

  3. I don’t get the obsession with breaking into the USA market. RL will only ever be a minuscule niche sport played by ex-pats and a few failed NFL players.

    If you want to grow RL into more of a world game maybe we should attempt to resurrect the French game. I remember when the French were a world class team. Many forget they came runner up in the 68 WC. They were really strong until the late 70’s. Putting effort into a country that could legitimately become a top tier competitor and has roots that go back to the early years of our game is a better investment.

    I also think South Africa with its history of playing English sports and a rich RU heritage would be a better investment that the USA.

  4. Agee Tommy – why not initially concentrate on countries that at least have some sort of knowledge of the game? I don’t understand this ongoing obsession with the US. Soccer is trying to crack the States, with a lot more money, players, sponsors and international appeal – and are struggling to compete with traditional US sports. Why not invest in France and even Canada – at least they both have club teams and a base to build on.

  5. Who thinks this is a good idea? Let’s say this idea works crazy well and the USA adopts league as their new football code what then. Who thinks the Tedescos and Holmes level stars will stay in oz to play for a million a season when the US will be paying them 30mil per season?
    Stupid idea by the clueless people running the show.

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