DALLAS JACKALS MOVE INAUGURAL SEASON TO 2022
MLR Expansion team positioning itself for proper debut and long-term success
DALLAS (January 19, 2021) — The Dallas Jackals today announced the club will not compete in the 2021 Major League Rugby (MLR) season. The decision, which was made in coordination with Major League Rugby, is based on a number of factors that will provide the Dallas Jackals, an expansion team, the best opportunity to succeed in its inaugural season and into the future.
A dispersal draft will be held in the near future for potential redistribution of Jackals players throughout the league for the 2021 season.
“This has been a challenging process, but we firmly believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team,” said Jackals President Scott Sonju. “The pandemic has obviously had a far-reaching impact on many businesses. For an expansion sports team it presents very specific challenges, from properly cultivating community and business relationships, to securing visas for international players – there are many challenges in a normal climate, let alone in the unusual climate of this past year. We know this organization is going to be highly successful. We know DFW is an important market for the league. But we also know that you only get one chance to make a first impression. After consulting with our partners and MLR Commissioner George Killebrew, we agreed introducing professional rugby to North Texas in 2022 is the right decision.”
The pandemic has forced businesses in many different industries – in particular entertainment, film and sports – to move launch dates due the pandemic-affected business climate. Recently, Major League Soccer announced a similar delay in start for three of its expansion clubs. Major League Rugby, with teams in 12 North American cities, will kick-off its fourth season on March 20, 2021.
The Jackals are bolstered by a base of enthusiastic rugby fans, affectionately known as The Pack, who have long advocated to bring the sport to DFW. Sonju has a message to Jackal fans:
“To all our supporters, let me say, we share your disappointment in this delay. Your belief in the Jackals inspires us, and trust me, we are determined to ensure the Jackals will enjoy lasting success. This is going to happen, and you’ll be a big reason why. Stay tuned – great things are ahead.”
MLR Commissioner George Killebrew said he’s worked closely with the Jackals on this decision and supports their plan.
“We are in a great place as a league, both financially and with the product we are set to deliver, when the 2021 season kicks off in March,” said Killebrew. “DFW is a top-five television market and a region that is important to MLR’s long-term growth strategy. Scott Sonju has earned enormous respect, with a proven track record running professional sports organizations. He believes in doing things right and setting up the Jackals for lasting success. This is a difficult decision, but one that’s being done for prudent reasons and to serve the fan base, the team and the league well in the long run.”
About Dallas Jackals —
The Dallas Jackals are a professional rugby team of Major League Rugby (MLR), the highest level of rugby competition in North America. The Jackals were named as an expansion team in 2020 and will play their inaugural season in 2022 at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The team’s central mission is to develop domestic talent to a world-class level of play and professionalism while strengthening the high performance pathway in DFW by supporting the local clubs. Through proactive Community Outreach, the Jackals will exemplify and spread the passion of rugby by inspiring tradition, respect, family, and character on and off the pitch.
About MLR —
Major League Rugby is a professional sports league entering its fourth season and represents the highest level of competition in North America. The League evolved from seven teams in 2018, to 12 teams in 2021, featuring 11 from the United States and one from Canada. The competition follows an 18-week regular schedule for a chance to advance to the playoffs. Matches are televised on CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports 2, ESPN+, Facebook Live (for international viewers) and on different platforms in each local market. MLR prides itself on its incredible athletes, the passionate community behind them, and its strong values of Respect, Inclusivity, and Tradition.
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