- Major League Rugby has announced a sports betting data and streaming partnership with Genius Sports.
- Major League Rugby is preparing to begin their fourth season.
- The partnership should result in Major League Rugby expanding their sports betting presence.
I had no idea that the Major League Rugby League existed. No disrespect to it or anything–I just didn’t know about it. Major League Rugby (MLR) is a professional rugby union competition and the top level championship for teams in North America. The league will begin play in 2021 with 12 teams–11 in the US and 1 in Canada. As these things have worked out during the COVID-19 pandemic the Toronto Arrows will be making their temporary home in Marietta, Georgia due to the travel restrictions between the US and Canada. Here are the teams in the league:
New England Free Jacks
New Orleans Gold
Old Glory DC
Rugby United New York
San Diego Legion
San Diego has relocated to Las Vegas for the 2021 season, presumably due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I know what you’re going to ask next and I’ve got some links to explain it. For some reason, two MLR teams are owned by Australian companies that make ‘premium cocktails’. Here’s the backstory on both ‘cocktail’ teams
For the most part, the teams play in smaller venues–for example, the Utah Warriors play in the 5,000 seat Zions Bank Stadium in the Western Salt Lake Valley. The exception is the LA Giltinis who are playing in the 77,500 seat Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The league has just announced a partnership that will likely take care of the primary reason I had never heard of it. They’ve selected Genius Sports Group as the ‘official sports betting data and betting streaming’ partner for the MLR. This means that Genius Sports will be charged with packing and distributing the league to the sports betting industry.
MLR Commissioner George Killebrew understands that the exposure as a betting product is good for getting his league more exposure:
“We know there is interest in regulated betting on our matches and we have to take proactive measures to safeguard the integrity and transparency of our events. We have the utmost confidence in Genius Sports Group to manage our data and deliver it to their sportsbook partners, further engaging all fans, old and new.”
Genius Sports Group CEO Mark Locke is happy to add the Major League Rugby competition to his company’s sports portfolio:
“With former England captain Chris Robshaw and Wallabies legend Adam Ashley-Cooper amongst the confirmed players for the upcoming season, MLR is rapidly establishing itself as a prominent league for rugby fans in North America and globally. Our technology, real-time distribution and leading network of sportsbook partners will help to enhance engagement and connect MLR with new audiences worldwide.”
Rugby is a popular betting sport in much of the world, particularly Europe and Australia. Getting on the betting board is an effective way to grow and publicize the league, particularly with North American fans.