2019 Major League Rugby season
|Commissioner||Dean Howes |
|Number of teams||9|
|Champions||Seattle Seawolves (2018)|
|Broadcast partner||CBS Sports Network, ESPN,|
AT&T Sports Networks
Major League Rugby, known as MLR, is a professional rugby union competition and the top-level championship for clubs in North America. In the 2019 season it will be contested by nine teams; eight from the United States and one from Canada. MLR began its first season in 2018 and is an initiative of the American rugby community in partnership with private investors.
Major League Rugby spans six months from late January through to mid June. The regular season is a double round-robin with all clubs playing each other home and away. Each team plays sixteen games, half of them at home. This is followed by a postseason for the top four teams consisting of two semi-final matches and the Championship Game to determine the season's MLR champion team.
There are nine teams confirmed for the 2019 Major League Rugby season:
|Austin Elite||Austin, Texas||Round Rock MPC [a]||3,500||2018||Alain Hyardet|
|Glendale Raptors||Denver, Colorado||Infinity Park [b]||5,000||2018||David Williams|
|Houston SaberCats||Houston, Texas||Aveva Stadium||4,000||2018||Justin Fitzpatrick|
|New Orleans Gold||New Orleans, Louisiana||Eagle Athletic Facility [c]||3,000||2018||Nate Osborne|
|Rugby United New York||New York, New York||MCU Park [d]||7,000||2019||Mike Tolkin|
|San Diego Legion||San Diego, California||Torero Stadium||6,000||2018||Rob Hoadley|
|Seattle Seawolves||Seattle, Washington||Starfire Stadium [e]||4,500||2018||Phil Mack|
|Toronto Arrows||Toronto, Ontario||York Lions Stadium||3,700||2019||Chris Silverthorn|
|Utah Warriors||Salt Lake City, Utah||Zions Bank Stadium [f]||5,000||2018||Alf Daniels|
|Atlanta MLR team||Atlanta, Georgia [g]||-||-||2020||-|
|DC MLR team||Washington, D.C. [h]||-||-||2020||-|
|New England Free Jacks||Boston, Massachusetts [i]||-||-||2020||-|
|Year||# of Teams||Final||Semi-final knockouts|
|2018||7||Seattle Seawolves||Glendale Raptors||San Diego Legion||Utah Warriors|
MLR players are generally drawn from North American clubs, although teams are allowed to sign up to five overseas players.
Major League Rugby programming runs in prime weekend time slots on Saturday afternoons and Sunday evenings.
The CBS Sports Network televises 13 matches nationally over the course of the season. This includes a Game of the Week during each of the 10 rounds of the MLR regular season along with all three post-season matches. Live streaming is also available through the CBS Sports Network streaming platforms. The remaining games are available on ESPN properties and regional sports networks.
AT&T Sports Networks have a 17-game package covering six of the seven MLR teams for games not broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. Home and away matches for Austin, Houston and New Orleans are carried on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. Seattle's matches are carried on Root Sports Northwest and all Glendale and Utah games are hosted on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain.
San Diego has a separate local rights agreement for their market with all the Legion's home and away MLR games that are not on the CBS Sports Network being televised locally on Channel 4 YurView California.Dan Power, Peter Steinberg and Brian Hightower were the CBS Sports commentators for the 2018 season. culminating with the Championship Game in San Diego
The league signed a multi-year partnership deal with XBlades in 2017 to supply all jersey/kit apparel for each MLR team and all match officials. The MLR also announced Ram Rugby as the official ball supplier. In May 2018, via Instagram, MLR announced Impact Custom Mouth Guards as the official mouth guard of the league.