Major League Rugby’s Utah Warriors Partners with Silicon Slopes
Salt Lake City, UT–The fastest-growing state for high tech companies has a new professional sports team in the Utah Warriors, a founding member of Major League Rugby (MLR), which is America’s newest professional sports league.
With Utah being a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship the Utah Warriors are looking to replicate Utah’s Silicon Slopes movement of visionary leadership.
“The Warriors are just like any other entrepreneurial endeavor,” said the team’s General Manager and CEO Kimball Kjar. “But instead of server farms and code we’re looking to build a product that our community is proud of and that is a reflection of who we are as Utahns.”
That product Kjar is talking about is rugby, which has seen a meteoric rise in America and is now the fastest growing sport in the US. Rugby also boasts the second largest international participant sport behind soccer and is quickly emerging as the next top-tier professional sport in America with the development of the MLR.
The development of the MLR began, Kjar said, almost five years ago as rugby enthusiasts and business people saw the signs lining up positively for a professional rugby competition in America, with rugby returning to the Olympics in 2016 and baseline metrics indicating a positive climate for the professional league.
“The USA has long been viewed by the international rugby community as the last frontier in both on the field and off the field opportunity,” Kjar said, “And with the studies showing that there are over forty million rugby fans in America, we knew the time was right to make this happen.”
The MLR began modestly like all start-ups with a meeting of like-minded ownerships groups in Houston in the Fall of 2016 and has now grown to a full-fledged league of seven founding teams for 2018.
Utah is joined in the MLR by teams in Seattle, San Diego, Glendale (Denver), Austin, Houston and New Orleans. More teams are slated to join the MLR in 2019 with New York already announced and with the MLR Commissioner, Dean Howes, a former Major League Soccer CEO of Real Salt Lake, saying that the MLR will have at least ten teams, with the possibility of twelve if the league were to add two Canadian applicant franchises in Vancouver and Toronto.
“The growth of the MLR is not unlike the growth of Silicon Slopes,” Kjar said, “We’ve seen tremendous momentum build since we’ve announced our formation and it shows that this model has legitimate legs to it.”
The momentum Kjar speaks of most notably is the national TV broadcast deal the MLR has announced for its 2018 launch with the CBS Sports Network. With the deal CBS will broadcast a MLR game-of-the-week live and in primetime while also showcasing the postseason play of the MLR.
The MLR has announced their digital and over-the-top (OTT) broadcast partner in ESPN and will announce their local and regional partner in the coming weeks.
“We’re the first professional sports league to come out of the gate with a national broadcast partner,” Kjar said, “And to have the level of local, regional, national and even international distribution we’ll have is unprecedented.”
Kjar’s Utah Warriors franchise kicks off play March 30th at Rio Tinto Stadium against MLR partner the Glendale Raptors, a Denver-based professional team, with the goal of showcasing to the Silicon Slopes community why the partnership is good for both parties.
“Rugby is made for this state, but more particularly the hard-working high-tech businessmen and women who will come to see rugby as a different, but fun and uniquely entertaining sport. Working families, young professionals looking for something new, exciting and good for the family will not be disappointed by coming to a Utah Warriors game.”
In partnering with the Silicon Slopes community the Utah Warriors are putting their money where their mouth is by giving Silicon Slopes members a free corporate premium ticket and an opportunity to attend the pregame social in the Rio Tinto Stadium Interform Club for the season opener on March 30th.
“We believe both the Warriors and Silicon Slopes stand to gain much by working together by building professional rugby in Utah,” Garrett Clark, Silicon Slopes Business Director of Operations said, “The Warriors want to make Utah an epicenter for rugby in North America, just like Silicon Slopes wants to make Utah an epicenter of the high tech industry in North America. We’re excited to work with and foster this relationship and we’re confident the high tech community will not be disappointed with what they see on March 30th.”
Silicon Slopes members who wish to learn how to participate in the Silicon Slopes and Utah Warriors tickets promotion should visit www.SiliconSlopes.com.
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