Tuesday, November 10, 2015

More On The Business Side Of PRO Rugby

Yesterday we shared more details on the new PRO Rugby focusing on the playing side of things. Today we're going to talk a little more about the business side.  Any discussion of PRO Rugby should begin with the single-entity structure of the league. To get more on that we spoke with CEO Doug Schoniger.  "Single-entity is a structure where one entity owns both the league and all the team in the league. IE, in our case, PRO Rugby owns all assets in the league, including teams.  Any investors in the league will be at the league level with no individual team ownership.  There are many advantages to this structure."

So that means that all players will be owned by the league and the league will be playing their salaries. As someone pointed out, if the average salary for a player is $25k then a season's payroll will be $4.5 million. That's a lot of money. Add in travel, facility rental, etc., then it's not a cheap proposition. However, it's not as if the people involved aren't aware of this. From what we understand the league is more than prepared to see this out for several years.

Take the jump to read more.
For PRO Rugby "the single-entity structure is the best way to grow the league," according to Schoninger. He added that "We can foresee a time when we would change and allow for different ownership options." The advantage of the single-entity structure, as fans of MLS have found, is that it doesn't allow teams to bid for players against other teams. That helps control salaries. Also, working as a single-entity helps centralize costs. This also means that the central office in New York will be in charge of negotiating with overseas players. That doesn't mean they won't work with specific teams and coaching staffs to identify players but that the central office will have a big say.

In terms of individual teams, each team will have their own local staff and will be supported from New York. Teams will have a local manager and a coach. The office in New York already has a small staff and getting teams in their local areas is next. Because everyone will be centrally paid from New York there will be a lot of collaboration in the first year.

Finally, one note on TV. Don't look for the league to take a traditional approach to media. That's a conscious decision on their part. The league is looking to get on the cutting edge of things and appeal to younger fans. That means an online option. It's not so much about how many fans are watching but how many fans are active watching. Not eyeballs, but activation. That's what sponsors will be looking for.


  1. In before the "But that doesn't really explain anything" crowd.

    Sounds like the guys running this are on top of it enough for my book. Minutia like some have been asking for bores the dog squeeze out of me. All I really want to know is 'do they have enough financial backing to see this thing through the first few years of loss so that it can potentially grow from there?' After that, the only other thing I want to know is when will a team be set up near me. Unfortunately, being in the South, I know that answer is most likely "several seasons after California and New England and Canada get a couple two or three more teams."

  2. I am really interested in hear how RIM will play into this. I am guessing if RIM was broadcasting a lot of Pro Rugby content they would be getting a portion of the fees RIM charges to it's users. It definitely couldn't float a competition but their is serious money to be made there.

    How closely are these two organizations intertwined? (Pro Rugby/RIM)

  3. Online option is great...can watch it on the go and for those that have left TV for streaming their entertainment, it is great. However, if online is the only option then doesn't sound like much of a chance to gather at a bar to watch with teammates, hoping to bring in interest from locals.

  4. What, no team in Southern California were there are 3 PRP teams? ??

    1. Those three SoCal PRP teams have yet to make a PRP Final, right?
      And the attendance at SoCal test matches has what kind of record?

      So no...no team in SoCal where there are three PRP teams that historically play very good rugby at the D1 club level. #NotPremierYet

  5. While this is a bit vague it is good to see there is a longer term commitment. Partnering with overseas teams to bring over younger up and coming players some exposure while sharing salaries will raise the quality of the product. If US rugby can contract 15 or so players with modest salaries that plus the Pro Rugby salary will allow our domestic internationals to become true full time athletes. Cautiously hopeful.

    1. We need a centrally contracted pool consisting of our best 15-30 domestic players. I was thinking about $10k. That plus PRO Rugby contract should be enough for a young guy to live on.

  6. With only one "owner" how will it be decided on who gets a southern resident from Florida who just graduated from Life U. (example) who is not located near any of the current teams?

    Will there be a draft? Will there be a general manager and VP of operations for each team and will they have the opportunity to recruit players? Or do all players go in the front door of Pro Rugby and they get placed by HQ?

  7. It sounds like they have to prove viewership (online) before they can get any of the big media players on board.
    Can't blame them. Why would MSNBC pay for broadcast rights and give up programming time for an unknown entity?
    They will be looking at online viewership very closely to prove they have the numbers to get the big boys interested.
    The fact that many of us are watching worldwide games online is not lost to them.