USA Rugby has been formally accepted as a candidate to host one or more upcoming Rugby World Cup (RWC) events, with over 30 “major” NFL, college football and Major League Soccer (MLS) stadia interested in staging games.

The United States will move forward with bid proposals for the 2027 and 2031 men’s World Cups, along with the 2029 women’s competition. As analysis continues, USA Rugby said potential for a combined bid of both the men’s and women’s competitions may come together if the process determines this approach is feasible and constructive toward hosting a world class experience across both events.

USA Rugby will now draw up a proposed hosting concept following what it said were “positive outcomes” from the Rugby World Cup Feasibility Study that began in August 2020, and World Rugby Dialogue Phase.

The feasibility group, in tandem with USA Rugby, will continue its role and transition from exploratory phase to bid planning and preparation ahead of the January 2022 proposal deadline with World Rugby.

USA Rugby CEO and former general manager to Rugby World Cup, Ross Young, said: “Putting our hand up to host a Rugby World Cup is a benchmark for the game in America, however the exciting stages are just now beginning as the stakeholder group continues into campaign planning.

“The great work this group of subject matter experts, led by former director Jim Brown, has done supersedes what has happened previously at this stage, and truly highlights the potential for a Rugby World Cup being held on American soil.”

Brown has previously served as managing director to the FIFA 2026 World Cup Bid Committee, which ultimately saw co-hosting rights awarded to the US, Canada and Mexico, as well as executive director of competitions for the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups.

Australia and Russia are also among the bidders for the 2027 RWC, with a joint bid from the four unions in the UK and Ireland said to be weighing up a proposal for the 2031 tournament. The Guardian newspaper, citing well-placed sources, said World Rugby may favour a 2027 RWC in Australia, followed by a 2031 event in the US, a developing market for rugby union.

Commenting on the stadia that are likely to be in contention for a US RWC, Brown said: “We first reached out to key stakeholders, cities and stadiums, and groups like NFL and Major League Soccer and others who will be impacted by this. And our first way was just to see how interest levels were with those key stakeholders.

“And we got a resounding positive reaction. We’re at around 30 host cities that are interested and a little over 30 major stadiums that are interested … and these are the big stadiums: MetLife, New York (home to the Giants and Jets), every major stadium from an NFL standard.”

Brown said a US World Cup could also use major college venues including the Rose Bowl (pictured) in Pasadena; Cotton Bowl in Dallas; and Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. He added that MLS venues were being considered “in case we determine matches would better be served in a smaller stadium. Each city is committed to flexibility there.”

World Rugby is expected to announce the 2027 and 2031 World Cup hosts in May 2022, along with the destinations for the 2025 and 2029 women’s tournaments.

Image: Ted Eytan/CC BY-SA 2.0/Edited for size