SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Grand Prix Network (GPN), a San Francisco based sports and entertainment company and a member of the Grand Prix Entertainment group, today announced it had finalized strategic plans to launch the network's Grand Prix Rugby Football League (RFL) in the spring of 2018, and GPN has engaged Whitecap Sports Group to exclusively offer RFL major market Founding Franchises in the top 16 U.S. media markets, including media giants New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Chairman and CEO William Tatham, Esq., recently announced GPN had successfully completed its multi-year, multi-million dollar start-up culminating in GPN's acquisition and extension through 2024 of its two targeted sport contents, the Olympic sports of Rugby Sevens and Men & Women's Indoor Volleyball, via exclusively sanctioned partnerships with U.S. Olympic members USARugby and USA Volleyball.
Led by GPN's commercial team, GPN recently completed the Grand Prix RFL's 2018-2024 Tout to League strategic plan following RFL's attending the inaugural invitation only USARugby 2016 Rugby PARTNER SUMMIT, held in Chicago on November 4-5, 2016, and hosted by RFL's official Agency of Record, Rugby International Marketing.
In GPN's final pre-launch move, concurrent with GPN's 2018 launch of the Grand Prix RFL's Phase One "Champion Sevens" Tour, Whitecap Sports Group (WSG) has been engaged by the RFL to exclusively facilitate the limited offering of only 4 RFL Founding Franchises. WSG associates have over 25 years of experience with respect to professional sports franchise sales, sports marketing and banking, and will manage inquiries as well as provide procurement services to GPN. WSG Managing Partner Bob Malandro states, "The GPN "Formula One of Team Sports" approach offers prospective sports franchise owners a platform that is unheard of outside of well stabilized, long tenured leagues—that is an ability to take a proven model and replicate it in a lucrative US market of your choice, with exclusive sanctioning rights, for a minimal investment by major US sports standards."
On the heels of Rugby Sevens successful debut in the Rio Summer Olympic Games, the partnership with Whitecap Sports Group follows GPN's timely and successful expansion of its exclusively sanctioned and licensed partnership with USARugby, highlighted by GPN's:
Extending USARugby's Exclusive Sanction License through 2024;
Engaging USARugby's Rugby International Marketing as Grand Prix's Agency of Record;
Acquiring American Rugby 7's in a move to consolidate professional sevens in the U.S.;
Finalizing a strategic plan focusing on the global monetization of commercial rights for the Grand Prix RFL Phase One Tour Championship, and the impending offering of sixteen major market franchises in the Grand Prix RFL's Phase Two League; and,
Engaging Whitecap Sports Group to manage the selection and awarding of the RFL's first 4 Founding Franchises to a select group of highly qualified sports investors.
Whitecap's Managing Partner Bob Malandro emphasized why the RFL offered sports investors both a rare opportunity to not only own major media market franchises such as New York and Los Angeles, but do so in a league that can "survive and prosper". "Unlike traditional start-up sports leagues that typically enter the market undercapitalized and without legitimate operating certainty, the innovative GPN model will first establish through its RFL Phase One Champion Sevens Tour, a profitable 'proof of concept' in targeted Phase Two League markets, and concurrently utilize that platform to subsequently launch franchises in major markets across the United States, as soon as 2018."
Rugby is the 2nd largest team sports in the world, and the Rugby World Cup is the 3rd most viewed event globally, behind only the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. With analytics pertaining to viewership and participation pointing to Rugby as the next emerging major sport in North America, Malandro concluded, "The RFL offers a unique window of opportunity to own and operate a world class professional Rugby franchise, with exclusive USARugby sanctioning and support."
GPN Chairman William Tatham, Esq., re-emphasized the attributes of the exclusively sanctioned USARugby partnership, stating "the RFL's strategy is as simple as 2 + 2. Grand Prix's innovative "Two Phased Tour to League Platform", enhanced by our exclusive sanction rights, results in Grand Prix's ability to kick off the Grand Prix RFL by simply and effectively professionalizing the amateur, global and domestic record breaking HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, further supported by the RFL's "Opening Act", the HSBC Series Las Vegas USA Sevens which sold a record 81,316 tickets, broadcast live on NBC and worldwide to over 147 nations.
2015 – 2016 HSBC World Rugby's Sevens Series highlights include:
Globally, World Rugby's amateur 2015 – 2016 HSBC Sevens expanded series of 10 tournaments in 10 countries, was the best-attended with 715,000 fans; the most-widely viewed, with 6,000 hours of action broadcast to fans in more than 100 territories for the first time; and the most socially-engaged with 61 million video views and a 250 percent audience increase across all platforms.
Domestically, the RFL's amateur "Opening Act", World Rugby's 2016 HSBC Sevens' Las Vegas based USA Sevens continued its decade long growth, selling a record breaking 80,138 tickets, while being broadcast live on NBC and NBCSN, allowing the HSBC Seven's U.S. stop to reach national and international audiences in over 400 million homes and 147 countries.
2016 Olympic Rugby Sevens highlights include:
Interest in the Rugby World Cup grew in all markets – with the largest growth coming in USA (6%) and Japan (5%).
World Rugby'ssocial fan-base grew by 670,000 during 2016, while on Twitter and Facebook World Rugby content reached more than 50 million fans with more than 218 million social impressions.
World Rugby Sevens generated more engagements across social (11.02 million) than all the other surveyed sporting bodies combined.
Interest grew in nearly all markets surveyed and resulted in an additional 16.83 million fans of Rugby Sevens – with the largest growth coming in France, the United Kingdom and the USA.
Compared with other Olympic sports,growth in interest in Rugby Sevens saw the biggest increase (four per cent) following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The USA Rugby U.S. Exclusive Sanction and License Agreement grants GPN the exclusive right to own, operate and globally broadcast USARugby sanctioned professional Rugby Sevens matches, leagues or tournaments. Unparalleled in global sports, these exclusive rights provide GPN competitive advantages and protections never before held by a new sports venture. USARugby is the national governing body for the sport of Rugby in America and a member of the US Olympic Committee and World Rugby.
GPN's long stated dual mission is to use the Phase One Grand Prix RFL Tour Championship series to lay the foundation for America's first professional sevens league, and concurrently serve as the "mother of all player development programs" for its partner USARugby. Tatham repeated his personal mantra, "Together with our partners at USARugby, the Grand Prix RFL must strive to entice America's elite athletes back to the 'Father of American Football', and support USAR's mission to take back America's rightful place as an Olympic Gold Medal Winner, and ultimately a Rugby World Cup Champion. The hard truth in sports is nothing will grow American rugby like winning American rugby."
For more information on franchise opportunity and to participate in the RFL's lucrative Phase One Champion Sevens Tour, please contact Bob Malandro, Managing Partner, Whitecap Sports Group at 813-397-3797, or at [email protected].
About Whitecap Sports Group Whitecap Sports Group is a boutique Sports Merger and Acquisition firm, with its core expertise being in facilitating sports ownership transactions.
About Grand Prix Network Grand Prix Network is a diversified multi-media production and distribution company that owns and manages sports, entertainment and gaming properties, including U.S. Exclusive Sanction and License Rights for both professional USA Rugby Sevens, and professional USA Volleyball men and women's indoor volleyball. For more information about Franchise and Sponsor opportunities, please visit www.grandprixnetwork.com.
About USARugby Established in 1975, USARugby is the governing body for the sport of rugby in America and a Full Sport Member of the United States Olympic Committee. Currently headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, USA Rugby is charged with developing the game on all levels and has more than 100,000 active members, with more than 35,000 playing collegiate rugby and 35,000 playing senior club rugby. USARugby oversees four national teams, multiple collegiate and high school All-American sides, and an emerging Olympic development pathway for elite athletes. It also hosts more than 30 national playoff and championship events each year as a service to its members. In October 2009, the International Olympic Committee announced Rugby Sevens (the seven-a-side version of the game) will appear in the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro. Visit www.usarugby.org for more information.
About USA Volleyball USA Volleyball is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of volleyball in the United States and is recognized as such by the Federation International de Volleyball and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
About Rugby International Marketing Created by USARugby in 2015, Rugby International Marketing is a unique 'for profit' commercial entity tasked with representing USARugby's commercial rights and developing new revenue streams to fund the game. The mission of Rugby International Marketing is to provide attractive financial returns to USARugby and its minority shareholders by utilizing third-party capital in an entrepreneurially driven, for-profit company. Among the properties represented by RIM are the USA men's and women's national teams, the Americas Rugby Championship, Grand Prix Rugby and the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens. Minority investors in RIM include the England Rugby Football Union and CSM Sport and Entertainment.
About CSM Sport and Entertainment CSM is a global leader in the business of sport and entertainment and is part of Chime Communications. CSM is active in every major sport world-class services from strategy to execution. The organization is made up of market-leading specialists that operate on every continent with over 800 people across 26 offices in 19 countries. CSM has been at the heart of rugby since the beginning of the professional era and has worked across every region and major property in the sport. CSM has planned and activated alongside some of the sport's most notable sponsors, including HSBC, Adidas, AIG and Dover Men+Care. Additionally, the agency represents some of the best players in the world, including Dan Carter, Kieran Read and Sergio Parisse.
About W Partners W Partners is a sales and marketing agency headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Focused on partnership development in the sports, entertainment and culinary industries, W Partners assists rights holders in revenue optimization through consulting and sales practices across media, partnership and licensing. W Partners mission is to create "Winning Partnerships" for both properties and their strategic media and sponsorship partners. For more information, please contact Taylor Dvorak at [email protected].