Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
Anyways, after months of speculation and plenty of rumors, the USA 7’s have officially announced the host of the 2011 Collegiate Championship Invitational.
As expected, Columbus is not getting a return shot at hosting while Philadelphia came strong to the negotiating table and pulled down the hosting rights. The new PPL Park will be the backdrop for the tournament that brings together sixteen top collegiate rugby teams to battle it out for national bragging rights.
NBC is also on board for the 2011 CCI as they have signed on for similar coverage that was provided during the inaugural championship.
The second-ever USA 7’s Collegiate Rugby Championship, a Rugby Sevens World Cup-style tournament featuring sixteen top-tier collegiate rugby teams, will be held at PPL Park in Chester, PA, on both Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5. The tournament will be broadcast nationally on NBC live on both days.
“We are excited that NBC Sports is bringing the Collegiate Rugby Championship to Chester in 2011,” said Mayor Wendell N. Butler, Jr. “Not only does this mean more jobs for Chester residents, but it also allows for a whole new set of fans and viewers to experience PPL Park and Chester’s fine waterfront, our historic birthplace.”
At a price tag of $120 million, the state of the art PPL Park opened this past year and seats 18,500 fans. The crux will be how to fill those stands and show off the sport of rugby to the many fans new to the sport watching from their homes. This is an area that Columbus came up well short last year.
Is Philly going to be able to get it done?
“PPL Park continues to draw the attention and interest of a wide range of events and now in partnership with the USA 7’s Collegiate Rugby Championship, we are bringing the great sport of rugby for fans to enjoy right here to the greater Philadelphia region,” said Nick Sakiewicz, CEO & Operating Partner of Keystone Sports and Entertainment.
“International sports fans have always supported rugby with an ardent fervor and we hope the fans of Philadelphia will similarly embrace it,” said Jon Miller, Executive Vice President of NBC Sports. “We have high hopes that the Collegiate Rugby Championship and the sport itself will become part of the fabric of the city and the region.”
The USA 7’s Collegiate Rugby Championship features sixteen Division I collegiate traditional powers, including; Temple, Penn State, Notre Dame, Army, Navy, Cal and defending champs Utah.
“It is truly invigorating to see that Rugby 7’s is establishing a presence on the National stage in America,” said Donal Walsh, VP of Operations for USA 7’s Rugby. “We had such success with the first event in Columbus, it’s a true privilege to bring this competition to Philadelphia for its second year.”
Comcast-Spectacor, the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment, is a partner in the Tournament by supplying the marketing, sales, promotional, and publicity support. The company also manages PPL Park through its public assembly facility management subsidiary, Global Spectrum.
“We’re thrilled to help Rugby Sevens with this outstanding event,” said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “We are providing our full support to make this event a success and to keep it here at PPL Park for years to come.”
A new addition to the tournament this year will include first-ever Philadelphia style rugby block party.
“Rugby Sevens is quickly gaining the respect and appreciation it deserves among sports fans in the United States,” said Penn State head coach Don Ferrell. “The continuation of this tournament exemplifies the growing talent that exists in the sport leading into rugby’s debut at the 2016 Olympic Games.”
· NBC Sports live coverage from 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET on June 4 and 5
· Universal Sports live coverage from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET on June 4 and 5
· NBC Mobile live simulcast from 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET on June 4 and 5
· Hulu.com full event coverage available on-demand in HD quality video
About USA Sevens:
USA Sevens owns and operates America’s premier rugby event, the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament. Held annually, the event is one of the eight international stops in the HSBC Sevens World Series. With an attendance of over 50,000 during the two day event, it is the largest annual rugby event in North America and one of the fastest growing rugby events in the world.