Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s), the new men’s and women’s rugby league, has announced a three-year licensing agreement with California-based team Rhinos Rugby for its Loggerheads franchise.
Under the deal, Rhinos Rugby will manage all on-field aspects of the Loggerheads men’s and women’s teams, including coaching and team selection.
The new ownership model means the PR7s will own the new franchise, with Rhinos receiving “ownership-style benefits” such as onsite hospitality and participation in trophy and other victory celebrations alongside the team.
Owen Scannell, PR7s founder and chief executive, said: “This agreement represents a remarkable and innovative approach toward redefining ownership in sports.
“This is an exhilarating time for rugby in North America, with the 2028 LA Olympics and 2031 and 2033 Rugby World Cups set to be hosted in the USA.
“This licensing agreement is a great step toward increasing stakeholder involvement in the professional game throughout America.”
There are currently four franchises in the league - the Loggerheads, Experts, Headliners, and Loonies - each of which has a men's and women's team. Three more franchises will be managed by the league, pending other licensing arrangements.
PR7s launched last year in July, with the four franchises competing in a series of fast 14-minute games at three tournaments held at Major League Soccer (MLS) venues in San Jose, Washington DC, and Austin.
The tournaments were broadcast by national network Fox on its dedicated sports channels FS1 and FS2, and on the Fox Sports App and FOXSports.com.
This year’s PR7s three tournaments will be held at the same three MLS stadiums on July 9 (San Jose), July 16 (Washington DC), and July 30 (Austin).
Andreea Trufasu, Rhinos Rugby co-founder and chief executive, said: “We are delighted to partner with PR7s and invest in this professional men’s and women’s rugby league that promotes equality in sport.
“Equality has been one of our core objectives at Rhinos at all levels. Having had numerous past and present Rhinos players play at PR7s’ Inaugural Championship in Memphis last year, their feedback really got us excited about the competition’s potential.
The league recently announced US streaming channel Fubo Sports Network secured the exclusive rights to broadcast all major PR7s tournaments this year.
Last month, Samurai Sportswear signed a two-year extension to be the league’s official apparel and ball provider through 2024.