USA Rugby exploring possible bid for future World Cup

The United States will host two of the world’s biggest sporting events in 2026 and ’28 and could possibly be adding a third for 2027.

USA Rugby will conduct a feasibility study to determine whether to put in a bid for the Rugby World Cup in 2027 or ’31. World Rugby announced Thursday that there will be a single process for both men’s world cups as well as the 2025 and ’29 women’s world cups.

World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said in a taped statement that awarding bids for two world cups at the same time for both the men’s and women’s games allows them to consider an established nation for one with the other possibly going to a country where they feel they can grow the game.

That process worked the last time it was used. England hosted the 2015 event followed by Japan four years later.

“If we didn’t have a dual awarding system, I doubt we would have ended up in Japan,” Gosper said. “We were able to use the certainty of a World Cup in England which allowed us to be bolder and braver to try to drive the sport in Japan.”

World Rugby is hoping to award the bids by May 2022. The process of talking to prospective nations will begin in February with the formal candidate process commencing three months later. Finalists will be evaluated in February 2022.

France has the 2023 World Cup, marking the second time in 16 years it will be the host nation.

The U.S. will host the soccer World Cup in 2026 and the Los Angeles Summer Games in 2028. Hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2027 would serve as a nice springboard into the Olympics.

The Rugby World Cup is usually held in September and October, which would be at the height of football season and could eliminate many venues from hosting. USA Rugby CEO Ross Young did raise the possibility that a potential bid could propose the tournament being held in August and September.

The 2019 world cup was held in 12 stadiums. Twenty nations competed in four pools of five during round-robin play with the top two in each pool advancing to the knockout stage.

USA Rugby is hopeful of being out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy by the end of the year. The organization filed in March following years of increased training expenditures and lack of revenue.

“We’ve had long discussions with stakeholders in supporting a bid,” he said. “We want to consider everything and do the proper backend work before putting in a bid.”

Rugby 7s events have been well attended in the U.S., including the 2018 World Cup Sevens in San Francisco. The sport also has had increased television exposure. The NBC Sports Group aired 221 hours of rugby last year compared to 30 1/2 in 2014.

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