Where the heartbeat of rugby has become a greatly debated topic in recent years. The origin of rugby is definitely in England. The power of rugby is located in New Zealand. There is one place where the spirit and talent of rugby resides, and that is the Pacific Islands. The islands of Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa, have been a hot bed for rugby talent, despite a small population and limited resources.
A small financial group in Hawaii, made up of several past and current NFL players, and lead by Richard Fale, have raised money to put the first Super Rugby team in Hawaii. This would make it the first Super Rugby team in the United States. While the team may reside on USA soil, the focus is on creating a team made up of Pacific Islanders from Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga.
“Timeline wise, Hawaii is much more aligned with the Australian and New Zealand markets. . . So there are things that are much more attractive of having Hawaii function around an Australasian competition, than it would be around a US mainland competition,” claimed Fale.
As exciting as this announcement is, there are still some obstacles that have to be cleared. Due to the current TV contract for Super Rugby that is set to end in 2020, there are no guarantees on what the new payout will be for the league until the negotiations have finished. Despite that, there is still high expectations that this could come through in favor of the purchasing group. The cost of the purchase of a team is also reasonably priced at 4.5 million dollars.
This is a big move for the region and for the sport. If it goes through, it’ll give a massive boost for the Pacific Island region from a financial and marketing stand point. For the state of Hawaii, it’ll provide the only professional team on the Island, and for rugby union, it’ll open up another door that can lead to a new wave of opportunities. Plenty of fingers crossed for this to go down.