Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
LOS ANGELES (March 27, 2012) – Grand Prix Sports, a subsidiary of Grand Prix Entertainment a Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment enterprise announced today that AEG Facilities’ Home Depot Center will be the future home of Grand Prix’s rugby world championships as part of Grand Prix’s exclusive partnership with USA Rugby.
“Following Grand Prix’s March 12, 2012 announcement of its six year extension through 2018 of our exclusive partnership with USA Rugby, selecting the championship venue was next on our list,” said Grand Prix Chairman Alan Rothenberg.
“Since hosting the iRB Rugby Sevens World Series from 2004 to 2006, staged by Grand Prix’s partner USA Rugby, we are thrilled to welcome back world class rugby sevens and its fans to The Home Depot Center, and look forward to being the home of Grand Prix’s upcoming Rugby Sevens world championships,” said Katie Pandolfo, general manager of AEG Facilities’ The Home Depot Center.
USA Rugby, an official member of the Unites States Olympic Committee as well as the Rugby World Cup’s International Rugby Board, had previously awarded Grand Prix the exclusive rights to own, operate and globally broadcast the professional sport of Rugby Sevens, which was soon after named a new Olympic sport.
GPE Chairman William Tatham said, “After extending our exclusively sanctioned partnership with USA Rugby through 2018, it was imperative we select a championship site that had absolute USAR and IRB support. America’s entry into world-class rugby played by world-class teams demands that Grand Prix kick off with a world-class venue and network partner. AEG is simply the world leader in sports and entertainment, and AEG Facilities’ Home Depot Center is exactly the right United States sound stage off which Grand Prix will domestically produce and globally distribute the richest Rugby Sevens championships in world history. To say the least, I’m grateful that the team at The Home Depot Center shares Grand Prix’s vision that the “Father of American Football” is now about to become the “Sport of the 21st Century.”
Neither party would further elaborate with major announcements imminent, including the identity of Grand Prix’s network partner, but Tatham added, “Trust me, we intend on rocking the rugby world with the news that the United States, the most powerful sports market with the greatest athletes on the globe, has finally entered the game of major league rugby.”
“No grass roots efforts here, we’re all about starting, and winning, at the top. By 2016, Grand Prix is 100% committed to USA Rugby’s goal of successfully defending and taking home the gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games. Bottom line, American sports fans demand a winner,” Tatham concluded.
The naming of Los Angeles’ Home Depot Center, in addition to a soon-to-be-named broadcast partner, provide the final building blocks for Grand Prix Entertainment’s soon to be announced broad based professional rugby initiatives.
Rich Rose, former President and COO of Caesars World Sports and GPE Board Member echoed Chairman Rothenberg’s sentiments, stating, “Our (Grand Prix Entertainment’s) sole goal is to put the pieces in place that maximize the ability to grow world class rugby in the U.S. With exclusive rights, a proven venue like the Home Depot Center, the talent assembled to implement and operate GPE’s vision and the strength and viability of our to-be announced broadcast partner, the organization is demonstrating its commitment to positioning the United States as a force in rugby both here and around the world.”
With Grand Prix’s pre launch start phase complete, GPE’s Tatham geared up by assembling a world-class sports, entertainment and gaming executive team including Alan Rothenberg, the visionary behind Major League Soccer; Neal Pilson, former president of CBS Sports; Gary Marenzi, former president of MGM International TV; Kelly Crabb, Senior Partner in the acclaimed sports law firm of Sheppard Mullin; Rich Rose, former President and COO of Caesars (Palace) World Sports; and Randy Bernstein, co-founder of the award winning sports marketing, sponsor and branding firm, Premier Partnerships.
About Grand Prix Entertainment
Grand Prix Entertainment is a diversified multi-media production and distribution company that owns and manages sports, entertainment and gaming properties. In addition to the above, key members of the Grand Prix executive team include Rich Rose, general counsel Scott Earnshaw, Bruce Skinner, Bob Finkel, Tom George, Jeff Zimmerman, Gino Grajeda and Jamison Davis, Managing Partner of the branding consultancy Davis & Partners Worldwide. For more information about Grand Prix Entertainment, please call Caryn at Premier Partnerships at (310) 656–2500 x13, or visit www.grandprixentertainment.com.
About The Home Depot Center
The Home Depot Center is southern California’s home of world-class competition and training facilities for amateur, Olympic, collegiate and professional athletes. The $150-million, privately-financed Home Depot Center is owned by AEG and operated by AEG Facilities, an international sports, entertainment and venue organization that works with more than 100 of the world’s most elite facilities across the globe. The Home Depot Center is a 125-acre multi-sport complex that sits on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) and features an 8,000-seat tennis stadium, a 27,000-seat stadium for soccer and other athletic competitions and outdoor concerts, a 2,000-seat facility for track & field and a 2,450-seat indoor Velodrome for track cycling. The Home Depot Center is home to two Major League Soccer teams, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA. Named an Official U.S. Olympic Training Site, The Home Depot Center is also home of the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) High Performance Training Center, the national team training headquarters for the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and Athletes’ Performance, an international training center for elite and professional athletes. For more information, please visit www.homedepotcenter.com.
About AEG Facilities
AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Company, is the leading sports, entertainment and venue operator in the world. AEG Facilities, a stand-alone affiliate of AEG, owns, operates or consults with 100 of the industry’s preeminent venues worldwide, across five continents, and works in concert with affiliated AEG entities, including live event producer, AEG Live, AEG Global Partnerships, AEG Development and AEG 1Earth to support the success of AEG venues across the globe. AEG owns, operates or provides services to venues including STAPLES Center (Los Angeles, Calif.), The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.), Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE (Los Angeles, Calif.), Citizens Business Bank Arena (Ontario, Calif.), Valley View Casino Center (San Diego, Calif.) Sprint Center (Kansas City, Mo.), XL Center and Rentschler Field (Hartford, Conn.), The Rose Garden (Portland, Ore.), KeyArena (Seattle, Wash.), KFC YUM! Center (Louisville, Ky.), AmericanAirlines Arena (Miami, Fla.), AT&T Center (San Antonio, Texas), Time Warner Cable Arena (Charlotte, N.C.), Prudential Center (Newark, N.J.), Target Center (Minneapolis, Minn.), Mercedes-Benz Arena (Shanghai, China), MasterCard Center (Beijing, China), The O2 Arena (London, England), O2 World (Berlin, Germany), O2 World Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany), Ahoy Arena (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Pernambuco Stadium (Recife, Brazil), Allphones Arena (Sydney, Australia), Globe Arenas (Stockholm, Sweden) and the Qatar National Convention Centre (Doha, Qatar). For more information, please visit www.aegworldwide.com.
About USA Rugby
Founded in 1975, USA Rugby is an official member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Rugby Board (IRB). The organization has approximately 98,000 members and is responsible for the development of the boys, girls, high school, collegiate and club rugby programs, and ultimately all of the national teams representing the U.S. in international competitions. USA Rugby’s national headquarters is located in Boulder, Colo., and is run by full-time staff under the direction of current CEO and President of Rugby Operations Nigel Melville. For more information, please visit www.usarugby.org.