Rugby ATL Scrums for U.S. Audience

    • Rugby ATL president Amanda Windsor White is the league's only woman president.
    • She faces the challenge of introducing rugby to the U.S.

Amanda Windsor White is president of a team in one of the U.S.’s most established sports cities, but she still has to build an audience for Rugby ATL from scratch.

“I’ve lived in Atlanta for 15 years,” she told Front Office Sports. “I’m a sports fan. I keep a pulse on all the things happening in the city.” And yet, had it not been for a friend connected to the team’s former ownership group, “I would not have known there was a rugby team.” 

Though operating with a fraction of the budget of the larger sports leagues and launching only four years ago, Major League Rugby has already gained a foothold.

  • The league has collectively attracted over $100 million in investments, according to White.
  • The annual average cost of operating a franchise is between $4 million and $6 million. Some of the 13 teams have already broken even.
  • The expansion fee for a new team is $10 million.

The league’s best-attended game last year came when Rugby ATL visited the LA Giltinis in front of a crowd of 7,389. Most teams’ stadiums have a capacity under 5,000. 

Growing the Community

White, the first woman president in the league (and Rugby ATL’s only full-time employee), values the unique perspective she brings to the sport.

“I don’t see it as the challenge of being a woman,” she said. “I just want to take a different approach than everybody else has.”

Specifically, White sees a need to reach out beyond rugby’s core audience, noting the sport has been “insular” so far.

“It’s going to take people with outside thinking and more diverse backgrounds to speak to a different audience and take a different approach.”