About Rugby & Rugby Sevens
Rugby, or rugby union, the oldest and most popular variation of rugby, began in England in the early 1800s. The two primary forms of rugby are rugby fifteens and rugby sevens. Rugby fifteens, perhaps the more widely known format, consists of two teams of fifteen players playing on a rectangular field. Rugby sevens is a fast-paced, close-contact game featuring two teams of seven players competing in just seven-minute halves and is the format of rugby played in the Olympics. This beloved international game is making its mark in the United States, especially in recent years.
About Premier Rugby Sevens
Founded in 2021, Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s) is the first-ever professional rugby sevens league offering equal, competitive opportunity for both men and women players. “The goal was to create a league for men and women. That is a key piece of what we are doing here is ensuring men and women are on an equal playing field. We are essentially developing a traveling professional sports league. It’s a different format than most sports in the US,” Kellie Cavalier, VP of Operations at PR7s shares.
The organization owns four professional franchises featuring both a men’s and women’s team within each franchise. The teams are made up of athletes from the US, Canada, and Mexico who compete in PR7s’ championships across the country. “Our teams are the Experts, the Loonies, the Loggerheads and the Headliners. We think this is new and different to have men’s and women’s in the same league and have them under the same brand participating in the same competitions,” she continues.
Rugby sevens is played with seven players per side in seven-minute halves. PR7s events are played tournament style, meaning all teams are in one location playing at once over the course of each tournament. Due to the short duration of the game, energy is high, and the experience is vibrant. “Rugby sevens is a super energetic sport. The action on the field is really remarkable and the athletic nature of the players is insane. Between sprinting for fourteen minutes, the high velocity contact, the athleticism of jumping in the air and kicking off, it’s all very amazing to watch,” Cavalier notes.
Premier Rugby Sevens strives to bring the international flair of rugby sevens events here to the US, as the culture is known for its festival experience and engaging environment. The organization exists in the space of the international calendar, running its tournaments in the summertime prior to the fall-spring international season.
In October 2021, Premier Rugby Seven’s held its inaugural championship in Memphis, TN. With such a successful concept and outcome, the organization is expanding to three championships in the summer 2022 season. Tickets can be purchased here.
Creating Equal Professional Opportunity
In the US, there is no opportunity to be paid to play rugby as a woman expect for Premier Rugby Sevens. The organization is ensuring both men and women have the opportunity to play and be compensated for their skill in this international sport. Thanks to PR7s, the United States is now the first country in the world to have a domestic professional sevens league. “We see this as a great step for the development of the sport in the US because no other countries are working to develop their athletes in this way yet,” Cavalier shares.
Our long-term goal is to deliver a product more similar to other sports leagues in the US where we are active 6 months out of the year and people are able to make a career out of playing rugby 7s. We are a conduit for athlete and talent development to the national team, Team USA. Out of our inaugural championship, there were multiple athletes whose talent was revealed in our competition that allowed them to be selected for national team duty, which is amazing.Kellie Cavalier, VP of Operations at Premier Rugby Sevens
Growing the Sport
Premier Rugby Sevens also works to grow the sport in the US by introducing more players to the game. The organization holds open trials and clinics to invite non-rugby athletes to play. In 2028, the Summer Olympics will come to Los Angeles, bringing rugby sevens in the Olympics to the US. This will be a huge opportunity to generate more awareness, excitement and engagement around the sport here. Beyond that, the Rugby World Cup will be held in the US in 2031 and 2033, which is a further testament to the growth on track for rugby in general.
What does Rugby Sevens need from hosts?
For their daylong championship events, PR7s primary venue is a rectangular field stadium, preferably a soccer-specific stadium due to their wider fields. The organization’s target size ranges from 5,500-20,000 seating capacities but will work with up to 30,000-seat venues. With their level of production, the group requires a full video board and field-level LEDs. Substantial back of house space is also a necessity for its several teams competing. PR7s is also considering offering adjacent participatory events alongside their competitions, which would involve utilizing soccer or multi-sport fields next to their primary venue.
“Because rugby sevens is a super energetic sport, we want to connect the entertaining nature of the sport to the vibrancy of the venue and the surrounding areas. A venue that is intertwined with the heartbeat of the city is really what we want it to feel like. Our 2022 venues are really what we want in the sense of that connectivity to vibrant spaces. Our target is the venue that wants to deliver an unparalleled fan engagement experience alongside of us,” Cavalier notes.
For more information on Premier Rugby Sevens, head to their Playeasy profile here.
Premier Rugby Sevens on Social Media