Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Despite multiple attempts throughout the years the game of Rugby League is yet to have any real impact in the USA market.
The USA national team had begun to make strides when they qualified for two Rugby League World Cups in a row in 2013 and 2017, going as far as the final eight in 2013.
However, they failed to qualify for the next tournament which will take place later this year in England.
Rugby League’s most recent attempt to cultivate an American audience was in 2019 when New Zealand faced England in an exhibition match in Denver that did not achieve its intended results.
Since then we have seen we have not seen any real push to put Rugby League on the big stage in America until now as South Sydney Rabbitohs Chief Executive Officer Blake Solly has confirmed that there is a plan in place for his side to take a competition game over to the USA against the Manly Sea Eagles in 2023 when being interviewed by The Courier Mail’s Fatima Kdouh.
— Telegraph Sport (@telegraph_sport) April 17, 2022
“If it’s something the NRL are keen to invest in the long term and we understand that Manly are talking about taking a game there, we’d love to be the opponent,” Solly said.
“We are always looking at ways in which we can grow the profile of both rugby league and the Rabbitohs.
“If the NRL think that the United States is a serious opportunity, we are happy to support their efforts.”
Manly’s owner Scott Penn is believed to have partaken in a discussion with the NRL about being involved in this USA initiative.
There are also reports that the potential game would take place at Los Angeles’ Banc of California which is the home of Major League Soccer franchise LAFC and has a capacity of 22,000.
Hollywood actors Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman are expected to be a part of the game’s marketing as Crowe is of course currently co-owns the Rabbitohs and Jackman is a die-hard Sea Eagles fan.
We last saw these two sides clash in the 2021 preliminary final with the Rabbitohs qualifying for the NRL Grand Final on that occasion.