USA Rugby

MLR To Mexico? Potential Monterrey-Based Club Eyeing 2025 Start

MLR To Mexico? Potential Monterrey-Based Club Eyeing 2025 Start

Battered by teams folding over the past month, Major League Rugby got some potential much-needed good news, as a possible Mexico-based club eyes joining.

Dec 13, 2023 by Briar Napier
MLR To Mexico? Potential Monterrey-Based Club Eyeing 2025 Start

After a dreadful month for North America’s top professional rugby league, Major League Rugby got some much-needed potential good news, as a possible Mexico-based expansion team has expressed hopes to join the league in 2025.

International law firm Cuatrecasas (which has an office in Mexico City) announced earlier this month that it had advised Rugby Ventures Mexico to sign a contract with the Nuevo Leon Institute for Physical Education and Sports (INDE) “to enable its rugby team to play at the new facilities INDE is building.”

Such a deal, the firm claims, would enable a Monterrey-based team (currently unnamed) to begin play in MLR starting in 2025. No Mexican side has competed in MLR since the league’s first season in 2018.

An MLR spokesperson said to FloRugby, "We have several ongoing conversations regarding the expansion of Major League Rugby. Though no decisions have been made, we believe there are some exciting prospective homes for MLR teams, including in Mexico, which could be great additions for our league."

The contract signed, per Cuatrecasas’ statement, also would enable Rugby Ventures Mexico to obtain financial support thanks to the facilities and the construction improvements to the new stadium based in Monterrey, the capital of the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon and the country’s second-largest city behind Mexico City.

Monterrey is roughly 140 miles from Mexico’s border with the United States and shares a time zone with MLR cities Chicago, New Orleans, Houston and Dallas. Houston, roughly an eight-hour drive from Monterrey, would be the team's closest MLR market.

A Mexican team would return the MLR to being an international league, after its only non-American team, the Toronto Arrows, folded late last month ahead of the 2024 season. 

That news was compounded with former league champion Rugby New York’s decision that it also was going to fold, leaving the MLR with just 11 clubs, a shaky future and the 2024 campaign just weeks away.

A fully professional side also would be a massive step forward for Mexico’s rugby culture and development. 

Mexico does not have a club in either the MLR or Super Rugby Americas, which features teams from both the United States and South America. 

Mexico’s national team, Los Serpientes, is ranked 49th in the World Rugby Rankings and has never qualified for a Rugby World Cup.