Premier Rugby Sevens (PR7s) announced Washington, D.C. has been named a host city for the new league’s 2022 expansion. Audi Field will host North America’s best male and female rugby athletes, including many Olympians, on Saturday, July 16.
As the first league of its kind with men’s and women’s teams competing under one umbrella with equal pay, each PR7s event will boast a party-like atmosphere with bands, DJs, games, contests, partner integration, and special appearances. The league’s tournaments will also bring the famous rugby sevens festival experience to MLS stadiums in San Jose at PayPal Park on Saturday, July 9, and Austin at Q2 Stadium on Saturday, July 30. Tickets are available at PRSevens.com/tickets.
PR7s unveiled a revolutionary new prize that unites the men’s and women’s competitions, with combined points throughout the season determining the winner of the United Championship. Eight teams compete within four franchises: Experts, Headliners, Loggerheads, and Loonies. A men’s team and a women’s team represent each franchise.
“We are extremely excited to scale PR7s across America, bringing rugby sevens to major venues that will act as regional hubs for the rugby community,” said Owen Scannell, CEO of Premier Rugby Sevens. “We believe the Bay Area, Central Texas, and the DMV will give our league a footprint for fans to easily witness the spectacle that is a PR7s live event. Each city brings entertainment options that will complement the festival and party environment that is synonymous with the sport of sevens around the world.”
Known as the first professional rugby league for women in North America, PR7s is organizing its first multi-city schedule. The league debuted in October 2021 on national television for a cumulative audience of 472,000 viewers.
In 2022, the eight teams will compete in three tournaments consisting of a series of fast 14-minute games in each city, culminating in a 2022 Championship Weekend in Austin. Each stop on tour will crown a men’s and women’s winner. Points will accumulate throughout the season to determine seeding for the Championship Weekend.
“As the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, Events DC is honored to partner with Premier Rugby Sevens to bring world-class, professional rugby to Audi Field,” said Ralph Morton, senior vice president and managing director, sports & entertainment at Events DC. “DC is home to one of the nation’s strongest rugby communities at both youth, amateur and professional levels with over 200 active club teams and millions of self-identified followers throughout our region. The opportunity to host Premier Rugby Sevens will showcase DC as a leading destination for sports in front of passionate and engaged rugby fans. We look forward to bringing more high-quality, professional rugby to our nation’s capital including the Rugby World Cup.”
Fifteen Olympians from the Tokyo Games competed in the Inaugural Championship on Fox Sports and TSN. Led by rugby legend Perry Baker, the Experts won the first PR7s men’s championship in 2021. And as one of the most dominant players in the world, Alev Kelter led the Loonies to the first women’s championship last year.
“A sincere congratulation to everyone at PR7s as they exponentially build on an impressive debut in 2021 during the Inaugural Championship,” said USA Rugby CEO, Ross Young. “The line of events in 2022 truly amplifies the sevens season this summer, and in three of the best rugby cities the United States has to offer. With three-times the opportunity for current and aspiring Olympians to compete at a professional level, PR7s continues to present an invaluable platform for USA Rugby High Performance development and scouting.”
PR7s is sanctioned by USA Rugby, which recognizes PR7s as the highest level of domestic seven-a-side rugby. The new league offers pathways for players to have other opportunities to play internationally. Following their success within PR7s, Logan Tago, Sarah Levy, and Aaron Cummings each took the field for the USA Eagles Sevens for the first time in international competition since last fall.