The Rugby Football League (RFL) has created a new sports betting offering through the launch of the first-ever US Rugby Sevens Major League, a tournament that will see international male players compete against the best US players for their share of $1m.
Backed by a US-based financial consortium, and kicking off in October 2022 in Las Vegas, the RFL aims to produce a new fan experience combining Rugby Sevens events with sports betting.
Through its Race Track Rugby concept, the RFL will work with betting tech providers to deliver access to live betting markets, in-running stats, insights, and expert advice throughout each game to fans in the stadium and at home, taking advantage of innovations and gamification developments.
The inaugural RFL event will feature the top 12 international teams pitted against four US team franchises to win their share of the $1m. From 2023, it will expand to up to 17 tournaments in major US cities and will feature up to 16 US team franchises playing with top international teams.
Former World Rugby Competition General Manager and RFL CEO, Philippe Bourdarias, commented: “The RFL is an amazing development for the game of Rugby in the US. 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 centralizes all expenses and rights, leaving the fun side of the League (managing the teams) to the Franchisees.”
Bourdarias is supported by former Las Vegas Sevens organizer Rob Cornelius (COO) and former European Rugby Cup (Heineken Cup), Paddy Power, and Racing Post executive Eugene Delaney (Gaming and Commercial adviser).
Delaney added: “The RFL delivers a truly innovative concept with fan engagement front and foremost. We want to provide a new and unique experience for fans at the stadium and at home by working with sportsbooks to create a dynamic betting offering, something not available in any of the other US Sports leagues.
“Our Race Track Rugby concept will enable us to leverage the fast-growing live betting market, providing sportsbooks with a fantastic opportunity for customer acquisition and engagement. Given our unique positioning, we are already in partnership talks with US and European operators.”