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.
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.
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.