Pro rugby coming to Northern California; games to begin in April

Posted Nov 24, 2015 by Nathan Salant
A privately owned soccer field at the California state fairgrounds in Sacramento was chosen last week as the first of six venues for a new professional rugby league beginning play next year.
DREAMS: Bonney Field in Sacramento  Calif.  has signed up to be home field for the local entry in a ...
DREAMS: Bonney Field in Sacramento, Calif., has signed up to be home field for the local entry in a new professional rugby league expected to begin play in April 2016.
Splitfire1000/Wikimedia Commons
Sacramento's entry in the PRO Rugby league is still unnamed, but sponsors Spectra and Cal Expo promise a 10-game season from April to July.
Home field will be Bonney Field at Cal Expo, California's state fairgrounds in Sacramento.
Tickets are scheduled to go on sale in January 2016.
“We are excited to launch PRO Rugby in Sacramento and five other cities around the United States," PRO Rugby CEO Douglas Schoninger said last week.
PRO is an acronym for Professional Rugby Organization.
“Sacramento’s support of USA and international rugby games during the California State Fair proved that there is strong demand for professional competition in the Sacramento region," Schoninger said.
"We look forward to connecting fans with this new team and the league,” he said.
PRO Rugby says it will enlist suggestions from fans to name the team and design a new logo, probably through its Facebook page at PRO Rugby North America.
"Cal Expo is honored to provide a platform for the historic launch of professional rugby," said Rick Pickering, Cal Expo's CEO.
"Celebrating achievement through competition is core to our mission as the state fair,” he said.
The third partner, Spectra, is a live entertainment division of Comcast, a Northern California cable television company, that operates concessions at many major Northern California sports venues, including Oakland Coliseum, Raley Field in Sacramento and the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
“Bonney Field was created to serve as a community gathering spot for sports and entertainment activities in the Sacramento region,” said Nick Nicora, a vice president at Spectra, the Comcast company that owns Bonney Field.
“We welcome PRO Rugby to this community which has shown great support for its professional sports teams,” he said.
Bonney Field was selected as opening day venue because its previous successes in hosting large crowds for international rugby exhibitions and Sacramento Republic FC soccer games.
Additional venues, and teams, are expected to be announced in the next few weeks, PRO Rugby officials said.