The Rugby Football Union (RFU), in partnership with the International Rugby Board (IRB), is planning to launch an international tournament with the aim of building up the sport’s following in the US and Canada, where the sporting agenda is dominated by American football, baseball and ice hockey. The RFU is hoping to broker a &£600,000 title sponsorship deal for the event.
The competition, planned to start next year, has yet to be named. It is understood that the sport’s British roots will be exploited in order to attract backers and supporters across the Atlantic. The plan is to feature a second-string England XV, a Canadian team and a US team, with a different venue every year.
International brand-owners in the alcohol and airline industries are among the companies to be targeted by the RFU’s commercial department. It is not known which TV channels will have the rights to show the tournament.
This year, the RFU has brought in a number of sponsors, including The Sunday Times and Land Rover, for its England Rugby programme – a joint venture between the RFU and Premier Rugby.