UNT partners with Dallas Griffins as pro rugby comes to DFW

The University of North Texas has partnered with Dallas Griffins Rugby to develop world-class professional rugby in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. The partnership creates the opportunity for UNT to deliver state-of-the-art support to the Griffins’ athletes and its management and marketing team.

“The partnership with UNT will allow the Griffins to significantly raise the standard of rugby player we're producing and make sure that player welfare is catered for to the same extent as player performance," said Griffins Managing Director Phil Camm. "Embarking on a new partnership with a leading university in the fields of sport performance and sport management and accessing the latest techniques in sports management, marketing, physiology and performance at both the team and league level enables us to close the gap on the current Tier 1 rugby nations overseas.” 

UNT partnership leader Professor John Nauright, a leading and award-winning expert on the global rugby industry and chair of UNT’s Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation Department, said “the partnership with the Griffins is providing internships for students and research opportunities in sport marketing, operations, sponsorship and sales, as well in the science of rugby performance.”

Beginning in 2018, Major League Rugby (MLR) will launch as a new professional rugby competition in the United States. By drawing on the best domestic talent, MLR will create an intense, fast-paced competition and a top-tier media product. MLR will introduce rugby to the American sports mainstream, provide a focal point for millions of existing fans and bring even more new supporters to the game, Nauright said.

MLR will initially include the Dallas Griffins and member teams across the United States including: Glendale, Colo.; Kansas City, Mo.; Houston; Austin; New Orleans; Seattle; Minneapolis; and Salt Lake City. Beyond 2018, MLR will expand to more cities with an emphasis on finding the right partners, markets and venues. MLR plans to create local destinations where rugby fans and families can come together to celebrate the highest levels of the American game. MLR stadia will be gathering places for rugby fans and local communities centered on “Heaven’s Game,” as rugby is widely known, Nauright said.

The Griffins, currently based in Allen, Texas, will train at sites across DFW as the team reaches out to cities across the region. UNT will provide training support and assist the Griffins in developing marketing and promotion strategies while assessing their effectiveness. For more information about the Dallas Griffins, follow @GriffinsRugby on Twitter.