With the bids to establish a club in New York City and relocate Hemel Stags to Ottawa now heard by the Championship and League 1 clubs following a presentation today, here’s what we know so far about the NYC bid.
Led by Ricky Wilby, the New York bid has been just over two years in the making, with the club aiming to expand the transatlantic footprint of rugby league, allowing the sport to be embedded in one of the most exciting cities in the world while also helping to establish pathways for home grown American talent to develop in the long term.
From the meeting at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium today, Wilby and proposed NY Director of Rugby Tony Feasey outlined their vision, highlighting all the key areas of contention such as travel arrangements, commercial backing, broadcast deals and a playing venue.
New York’s key flight partners will be Virgin Atlantic, with Macron and Mastercard unveiled as other partners, with intentions for the club to air its games live on ESPN.
In a dossier presented to the members of the media and clubs in attendance, the bid clearly outlined in detail the logistics of visiting clubs’ travel and itinerary as well as revealing that the club intends to play its home fixtures in blocks of two.
With current expansion team Toronto Wolfpack, who were accepted into League 1 in 2017, under fire for not having things in place to promote the growth of the game from the grass roots level in Canada, NYC’s dossier included an impressive six page spread on their plans to create junior pathways in the sport as well as a plan to identify a talent pool in America from which to generate players for their senior squad.
New York left the meeting insistent they could get 10,000 through the gates of the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey by the end of their first season and were confident of being accepted into the RFL’s professional divisions for the 2020 season.
With the Championship and League 1 clubs in principle being in support of the bid by a large majority, according to a statement from the RFL, the fate of the club now lies with the RFL board, who have license to further critique the proposal before making their final decision in due course.