NY And LA Expansion Confirmed: Atlanta Next?

Miss Pass #22: Mullet Magic

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New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. are painting the picture for the MLR expansion landscape. Could the South get the next team? How about Atlanta? 

With the resources pooling in Atlanta, it is not crazy to expect another southern MLR franchise. Investors and coaching inquiries are quietly surfacing.

Developing an MLR team in Atlanta would look very similar to what took place in Austin, Texas. Austin Elite had two powerhouse men’s clubs in the Austin Huns and Austin Blacks to draw personnel from, and Atlanta similarly has Old White and the Atlanta Renegades. Both have performed well nationally in sevens and 15s. Old White has already qualified for the 2018 Club 7s National Championships with a roster featuring several Life University players.

Local Gems

The biggest asset an Atlanta franchise would have is Life University. Located in nearby Marietta, GA, Life has bragging rights as the top collegiate rugby program after putting a 60-5 beating on Cal in the D1A national championship. The perennial powerhouse reloads with overseas and domestic talent on a seasonal basis and has a history of developing both Eagles and professional players, including Shaun Davies (Eagles and Glendale Raptors), Cam Dolan (Eagles and San Diego Legion), Harley Davidson (Glendale Raptors) and AJ MacGinty (Eagles and Sale Sharks). 

More professionals could easily come out of the program, including Scholz Award nominee Duncan Van Schalkwyk, Collegiate All-American Harley Wheeler, and Collegiate All-American Alex Maughan.

LA lacks an ideal venue; D.C. might be able to use the new Audi Field just opened, but Atlanta has an obvious option at Kennesaw State University. KSU lies just north of Atlanta and has a demonstrated commitment to growing rugby. Over the last few years, KSU has hosted the Women’s International 7s and multiple USA national team test matches. A partnership between a rugby-specific venue such as Fifth Third Bank Stadium is an alley-oop for possible Atlanta investors.

Major League Recipe

In the last two years, Atlanta saw its Major League Soccer franchise perform better than any expansion team in the history of sport. Atlanta United set not just MLS but also professional soccer attendance records while battling for the league’s best record. United made its debut in the smaller Georgia Tech stadium before making the leap to the brand new Mercedes-Benz stadium, which turned out to be a genius move. The MLS franchise and its fans had the opportunity to grow their culture, rituals, and chants in a more intimate environment before moving to a loud and luxurious sporting temple.

Ontario Announces Plans To Join MLR

Atlanta has the 10th-largest television market, according to Nielsen, and is home to Turner Broadcasting. An Atlanta expansion would introduce a new market and television competitors—commercial opportunities the MLR administrators would be forced to consider.

Autumn Nations Cup Stock Report

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You could be forgiven for thinking that the Northern hemisphere teams decided to play another Six Nations tournament in 2020, and added Georgia, perhaps on a trial basis. But no! 

Top 15 Players Of Autumn Nations Cup

England

The Autumn Nations Cup wasn’t just a measuring stick for international teams, but also a proving ground for players looking to either break into the national team or reestablish their place in it. For the four British Isles, it was also an audition for Warren Gatland’s 2021 British & Irish Lions team which heads to South Africa next summer. 

Top 5 Games From Autumn Nations Cup

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Now that it's over, it's all about the numbers.

Autumn Nations Cup Notebook: Fijian Flair Shows Up & Champions Crowned

England

If the first three rounds of the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup were labeled as slow, or too kick-heavy, the final weekend was anything but. 

England Prevails As Autumn Nations Cup Champs

Championship Replay: England vs France

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It was supposed to be a cakewalk. It was supposed to be business as usual for Eddie Jones’ team in front of 2,000 spectators at Twickenham. 

How to Watch Autumn Nations Cup: Wales vs Italy

Wales vs Italy

Italy and Wales will face off for fifth place as they look to finish off their Autumn Nations Cup run with a win. 

How to Watch Autumn Nations Cup: Ireland vs Scotland

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Both teams had some decent showings in pool play. Ireland's lone loss came to championship contender England in the second round in a hard fought contest. They will look to finish out the Autumn Nations Cup on a good note with a win over Scotland.

How to Watch England vs France In Autumn Nations Cup Championship

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England and France will be looking to stay flawless at the Autumn Nations Cup as they meet with the title on the on line. 

Autumn Nations Cup Notebook: Stage Is Set For Massive Title Bout

Georgia

Round 3 was highlighted most by the efforts of the Georgians, who pushed Ireland for 80 minutes in Dublin. 

England Looking To Stay Perfect Against Wales

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England has been rolling.