RUGBY COMMUNITY MOURNS THE PASSING OF LEGEND, A. JON PRUSMACK

A. Jon Prusmack, a successful entrepreneur of many companies, and the respected and admired owner of United World Sports (USA Sevens, Collegiate Rugby Championship, Rhino Rugby USA, and Rugby Today), died on Friday. He was 77.

He had battled cancer for many years.

He is survived by his wife, Patrice.

It is a sad day for worldwide rugby to lose this innovative visionary, who, for more than fifty-years devoted his life to expand rugby in the USA, a sport that he played and loved. From 1968 when he published the first Scrumdown magazine, to building the USA Sevens and to the concept of Super 7s Rugby professional league, he endeavored to pioneer commercial models in original, American operated rugby businesses.

Prusmack’s rugby career started out with Westchester RFC in the mid -1960s at a time when rugby flourished in New York City with five local clubs (New York RFC, Old Blue RFC, Manhattan RFC, Old Maroon RFC, and Westchester) organizing multiple sides weekly. Then in 1973, he performed double duty playing two matches per week during the New York Athletic Club’s introductory rugby season. He would go on to coach and referee for many years.

In 1975, he launched Scrumdown in newsprint, and, that year, hired Ed Hagerty to become Editor while retaining the Publisher role. The publication changed its name to Rugby in 1976, becoming the singular and official voice of US rugby news and information, and, importantly, connecting the American rugby community. Prusmack and Hagerty were elected to the US Rugby Hall of Fame in 2013 for their decades of media contribution.

In 1979, he wrote Rugby: A Guide for Players, Coaches, and Spectators, the first book about the sport published in the United States.
In the early 1980s, he wanted to try a different business from years of commercial graphic design. A Westchester club teammate offered the export sales rights to the Middle East for a hospital disposable pack company. Finally, after six futile months he scheduled a sales call with a distributor in Saudi Arabia. At a hotel cocktail lounge in Riyadh, he met two British businessmen where the conversation turned to rugby. Prusmack always credited the serendipitous bond with these rugbymen who provided savvy cultural advice about doing business in an Arab country.  The disposable business sales grew incrementally, expanding into a full line of medical procedure trays.

Many years later, this Saudi distributor would ask Prusmack the one question that would change his life. “Can you create a field hospital for our annual haj for the many millions of pilgrims who come to Mecca?” The available tents at that time were old, bulky, and time consuming to erect.

He decided to create a new tent model.  With a vital suggestion about support struts from his wife Patti, also a graphic designer, he designed a prototype of the world’s first, quick to assemble shelter tent, which required no tools to set up.

Founded in 1986, the company was named Deployable Hospital Systems. Later, it changed to D.R.A. Shelter (DRASH) as its field applications expanded beyond medical services to command and control functions. It took almost a decade to turn a profit, eventually, generating sales of over $150 million annually. Prusmack never faltered in his belief that hard work and dedication to a creative idea would lead to success.

DRASH employed 300 employees, the second highest manufacturing total in Rockland County, New York. The company operated sales, support, and training offices throughout the country, and many international offices.

With the success of a thriving and highly profitable military shelter business, Prusmack offered significant financial gifts to the rugby programs at West Point and Annapolis. He provided a pitch – Warrior Field – to the Army’s new rugby facility in 2007. At his alma mater, the Naval Academy in 2016, he funded the Prusmack Rugby Complex that features two parallel fields with back to back bleacher stands.

Prusmack realized an opportunity to return to a rugby-oriented business venture when the USA Rugby Organization decided to sell the ownership to the USA Sevens. He bought the rights in 2005 and moved the tournament from Los Angeles to San Diego in 2007. He also bought back total ownership in Rugby magazine, and mounted ERugbyNews.com, an online rugby publication.  (Currently, www.RugbyToday.com). The new rugby entity was called United World Sports (UWS).

The World Rugby HSBC sponsored USA 7s moved to Las Vegas in 2009 where it proved a financial success story, attracting many thousands of fans. The Las Vegas tournament will celebrate its tenth anniversary in early March 2019.

Prusmack had a vision that college rugby would be the pathway for successful national teams. He invested in the creation of a new event to showcase college sevens in 2010. This is now named the Penn Mutual Insurance Collegiate Rugby Championship, or CRC. The tournament found a home outside Philadelphia where it’s played every June. Many present and past USA 7s Eagles premiered publicly at this televised event.

The burgeoning interest in sevens rugby paraded the USA’s Men and Women’s stars at the USA Sevens and at the CRC, making, rugby the fastest growing team sport in the United States. Another reason for the increase in players nationally is that Prusmack spearheaded putting rugby on national television, first with NBC and now ESPN

Prusmack was voted into the NYAC Rugby Hall of Fame and the US Naval Academy Rugby Hall of Fame.

Academically, he transferred from the Naval Academy to New York University where he received a BA degree in Art and Mathematics. He was voted most valuable player on the NYU football team. Later, he earned two MS Degrees in Engineering from Polytechnic University in New York. He also holds an MBA from Bernard Baruch Graduate School of Business.

Prusmack served as a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Small Business Council, the Rockland County Economic Development Corporation, and was on the Board of Trustees for Dominican College, New York. The university named its new Health and Science Education Center the Prusmack Center in recognition of the significant donation from the Prusmacks.

He was named a member of the Business Institute’s Excellence Hall of Fame in December 2015. In January 2016, he was the Hall of Fame’s inaugural member and he was inducted on February 19, 2016.

Prusmack was an accomplished painter and printmaker. His early football-to-rugby posters have been sold for years in Rugby Magazine. He was Treasurer of the Salmagundi Club, one of the oldest and most prestigious art institutions in New York City, dating back to 1871. Art remained his hobby and passion.

An associate said of Prusmack, “He created canvases of business in his mind.” He embodied the true entrepreneurial spirit, generously seeding projects with investment and advice.  He will be remembered as a gentleman, affable and kind, who always exuded optimism.

The American rugby community has lost a good friend who embodied the love of the game. It is a truism that he was responsible for rugby’s newfound popularity.  All who knew A. Jon Prusmack will conduct a memorial service in their hearts and this tribute will last forever.

12 of the Top International Rugby Sevens Teams Coming to San Jose’s Avaya Stadium November 4th & 5th

New York, NY and San Jose, CA – August 3, 2017 – United World Sports, the owner and operator of the largest annual rugby events in the United States, today announced an addition to their portfolio of world-class international rugby competitions with the launch of Silicon Valley 7’s, scheduled for Saturday, November 4th and Sunday, November 5th at Avaya Stadium in San Jose. The event will bring some of the world’s great participants in the Olympic sport of Rugby Sevens to the Bay Area for this special event.

Among the 12 teams competing in this debut tournament are the men’s sevens squads from Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, a trio of Pacific Island national teams competing in the same tournament for the first time since the 2007 USA Sevens. Also featured is the men’s sevens squad from Ireland, the first time that the squad will ever compete in the United States. Joining them are teams from the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Chile, New Zealand, Japan and China, coming together at the Silicon Valley 7s as they begin preparations for 2018 international rugby sevens season.

“It is exciting to establish Silicon Valley 7s as a season-opening annual tournament that will set the pace for the 2017-2018 rugby campaign,” said Jeff McDowell, EVP/CMO of United World Sports. “With 12 of the top rugby 7s teams in the world coming to San Jose, we anticipate a high-level of interest in this high-performance competition. Silicon Valley 7s brings the world’s fastest growing Olympic sport to a whole new audience, in a way that allows even the most casual of sports fans to see close-up the power of rugby 7s.”

Silicon Valley 7s adds another international tournament to United World Sports’ growing portfolio that includes the annual USA Sevens Rugby tournament in Las Vegas, which is the largest professional rugby event in North America; the annual Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia, the premier collegiate 7s championship; and the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Championship, the 15s national rugby championship.

“The addition of Silicon Valley 7s to the international schedule, and its debut in San Jose, further validates the growth of rugby in the United States.” said Dan Payne, Chief Executive Officer of USA Rugby. “It is going to be a great event for rugby fans on the West Coast, a strong lead in tournament for the Men’s 7s team in preparation for the HSBC Sevens World Series and a great opportunity to add a high caliber event to the domestic calendar with our partner, United World Sports.”

Avaya Stadium, which opened in February 2015, has a capacity of approximately 18,000 and is the home field for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes.  United World Sports has also partnered with the City of San Jose, the San Jose Sports Authority and the Fairmont Hotel, which will serve as the official partner and team hotel.

In addition to 34 international men’s matches, the event will feature 20 collegiate matches, an international cultural festival, along with an Island concert series.

Beginning Friday, Aug. 4 at 10 a.m., VIPs will be eligible for an exclusive pre-sale before going on sale to the general public on Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available via Ticketmaster.com or SevensRugby.com and groups of 10 or more should call Avaya Stadium at 408-556-7700.

 

About United World Sports:

United World Sports (UWS) is the largest commercial rugby entity in the United States, and the owner and operator of a growing portfolio of dynamic sports, media and apparel brands including, the USA Sevens Rugby international tournament, the largest professional rugby event in North America; the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the premier college 7s rugby championship; and the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Championship, the 15s-national rugby championship. Through its apparel division, UWS owns the exclusive North and South American license for Rhino Rugby, one of the world’s leading rugby apparel and equipment brands. UWS also owns and operates RugbyToday.com, the largest and most widely read media destination dedicated to American rugby. Additional information is available at http://www.unitedworldsports.com.

 

About Avaya Stadium

Avaya Stadium, home to Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes, is an 18,000-seat soccer-specific stadium located on Coleman Ave. adjacent to the San Jose International Airport. The European-inspired building is the first cloud-enabled venue in MLS and is among the most technologically advanced stadiums in the world. The stadium features a canopy roof and the steepest-raked seating in MLS to provide the best possible fan experience. Additionally, the north end zone houses the largest outdoor bar in North America, a two-acre fan zone and a double-sided video scoreboard. The suites and club seats are located at field level, giving fans a premium experience unlike any other in professional sports. The stadium has hosted numerous non-Major League Soccer events since its inaugural season in 2015, including the International Champions Cup, a pair of United States Women’s National Team friendlies, the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup, the 2016 Major League Soccer All-Star Game against Arsenal FC and a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier for the U.S. Men’s National Team. For more information about Avaya Stadium, visit sjearthquakes.com.

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HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Returns to Las Vegas for 2017 USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament

USA Rugby partners with HSBC Sevens World Series to unite men’s and women’s teams in Las Vegas

LAS VEGASUnited World Sports, the organizers behind the largest annual rugby events in the United States; and USA Rugby, the national governing body of rugby in America, announce that the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series will return to Las Vegas for 2017, uniting it with the annual USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament, March 3 – 5 at Sam Boyd Stadium. The women’s competition returns to Las Vegas since it moved to Atlanta in 2014.

The unification of the men’s and women’s competitions will significantly add to what is already the premier annual rugby event in the United States, and what is rapidly becoming one of the biggest global events for the fastest-growing sport in the United States. The 2017 HSBC Women’s Sevens competition in Las Vegas will be the third of six stops in the global HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series featuring 12 teams beginning Friday, March 3.

“We are very proud to work with United World Sports to combine the 2017 men’s and women’s HSBC Seven Series for what will be an unforgettable weekend in Las Vegas,” said Dan Payne, CEO of USA Rugby. “The HSBC Sevens Series in Las Vegas has become not just the largest rugby event in the United States, but one of the biggest overall weekends in Las Vegas in terms of tourism and spending, and this will add an entirely new level of elite competition, pageantry and interest to the city and to our fast-growing sport.”

“We welcome the combined event for 2017, and look forward to working collaboratively with USA Rugby to continue to grow the sport in the United States,” said Jon Prusmack, CEO of United World Sports. “The HSBC Sevens Series weekend in Las Vegas has become the showplace for the sport in the United States, and the addition of the women’s event will take the interest to another level.”

Core teams scheduled to compete in the women’s tournament will include: 2016 Olympic gold medal winning Australia, silver medalist New Zealand and bronze medalist Canada, along with Brazil, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Russia, Spain, USA, and an additional team to be invited by World Rugby.

Over 80,000 people are expected to attend the three days of non-stop play, bringing over $30 million into the local economy and ranking it among one the largest weekends for any event held in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas event will be the fifth global stop in the HSBC Sevens Series for the men’s teams, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales.

In addition to the USA Sevens, Las Vegas will also concurrently host the Las Vegas Invitational, the largest amateur rugby competition in the western hemisphere, featuring athletes and match-ups across a wide range of rugby divisions and age groups.

Media interested in applying for credential to the Las Vegas event can apply here. Tickets for USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament are currently on sale and available for purchase at www.usasevens.com.

 

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About United World Sports:

United World Sports (UWS) LLC hosts a dynamic line up of emerging sports properties and has quickly become the leader at delivering premier international sports properties to U.S. audiences. UWS’ flagship property is the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament held annually in Las Vegas. This exciting 16-nation, three-day tournament has become the largest attended rugby event in North America with more than 80,000 fans coming to Sam Boyd Stadium. Broadcast live on NBC Sports the tournament serves as the only U.S. stop on a nine-city world tour and reaches more than 400 million television households worldwide. Additional UWS properties include the Las Vegas Invitational, which occurs alongside the USA Sevens and is the largest participatory rugby tournament in the western hemisphere; the America’s Rugby Seven’s Cup; the Penn Mutual College Rugby Championship (CRC); and the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championship.

 

About USA Rugby:

Established in 1975, USA Rugby is the governing body for the sport of rugby in America and a Full Sport Member of the United States Olympic Committee. Currently headquartered in Lafayette, Colorado, USA Rugby is charged with developing the game on all levels and has more than 120,000 active members, with more than 40,000 playing collegiate rugby and 35,000 playing senior club rugby. USA Rugby oversees four national teams, multiple collegiate and high school All-American sides, and an emerging Olympic development pathway for elite athletes. It also hosts more than 30 national playoff and championship events each year as a service to its members. In October 2009, the International Olympic Committee announced Rugby Sevens would appear in the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, and both the U.S. men and women qualified for competition. Visit www.usarugby.org for more information.

 

About USA Sevens Rugby:

The annual USA Sevens international rugby tournament is the premier rugby event in North America as well as the fifth event out of ten in the HSBC Sevens World Series. Fans in attendance will see 16 international rugby sevens teams play 44 matches during a three-day competition in an attempt to gain points in the Sevens World Series standings. Fans can stay updated on all the latest USA Sevens Rugby news, events and details by following on Facebook (USA Sevens Rugby Tournament And Festival), Twitter (@USASevensRugby) and Instagram (@USASevensRugby).

 

Played on the same size field as traditional 15-player rugby, rugby sevens is played with just seven players per team.  Matches have seven-minute halves with two-minute intervals for pool and knock-out matches. The fast pace and short duration of matches makes every moment of the action thrilling for spectators.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

United World Sports

Joe Favorito

fatherknickerbocker1@yahoo.com

201.746.0005

 

USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament

Jaclyn Dadas / Lea Komitzky /Paige Adams

Kirvin Doak Communications

USASevensRugby@KirvinDoak.com

 

USA Rugby

Nick Sero

nsero@usarugby.org

720-508-8007

 

World Rugby

Sevens Series Media Manager

Eoin McHugh

eoin.mchugh@worldrugby.org

UWS Names Jon Hinkin Tournament Director For HSBC Sevens Rugby Series Las Vegas

Veteran player, businessman elevated to top tournament position for the largest annual rugby event in North America

November 1, 2016– United World Sports, the organizers of the premier annual rugby events in the United States, announced they have promoted Jon Hinkin to Tournament Director. One of the most respected competitors and successful businessmen in the sport, Hinkin has been involved in the growth of the USA Sevens since its inception.  The 2017 USA Sevens will be held at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas from March 3-5, 2017 with over 80,000 people expected.

“There is no one more deserving of this role than Jon is, and we are very pleased to have him take over as Tournament Director at a time when the USA Sevens is about to ascend to new heights in visibility, brand activation and participation,” said United World Sports President Jonathan First.  “He has the unique balance of success in the business world and on the field that will be invaluable to us going forward.”

“I am a great believer in the continued growth of rugby as a sports and entertainment property in the United States, and there is no event with more potential than USA Sevens in Las Vegas,” Hinkin said.  “I have seen the event grow as both a player and as a business professional, and look forward to working closely to expand its business footprint even larger.”

Jon Hinkin has been with United World Sports (UWS) since its inception in 2006.  He created and built what is now the Las Vegas Invitational, which consists of over 270 teams from 25 countries and is played congruently with the USA Sevens in Las Vegas. He has also held Competition Management positions in UWS events including the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia, the Pro Soccer Challenge, the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup and is listed as an inventor of Super Sevens rugby.

The former star at rugby powerhouse St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Cal. enjoyed a brilliant playing career which saw him represent the United States from 1991 – 1998, captaining the USA Sevens team in 1997 and 1998. He played in the inaugural Rugby Sevens  World Cup in 1993 and was a reserve on the 1997 USA Rugby Sevens  World Cup team. Jon also had a successful amateur career where he was part of 12 National championship sides in 15’s and 7’s with his club OMBAC, select sides Northern California Pelicans, Southern California Griffins and the Grizzlies. He  has also represented the United States five times at the World Rugby Classic in Bermuda.

After his international career Jon took his leadership qualities to the business world. He was the lead Supplier Manager for Medibuy.com and was responsible for growing the supplier community to over 400 businesses. He then became a partner in All Valley Home Health Care where his integration of business practices via software technologies helped grow AVHHC from 10MM to 27MM in revenue annually while expanding to over 20 office locations in 4 states. Jon was then recruited to build Lorimar Group, a communications company, in his role as Business Development Director Lorimar grew from 1MM to 10MM in sales.

The 2017 USA Sevens will be the only stop for Rugby Sevens in the United States.  Over 80,000 people will be on hand for the three days of non-stop play, bringing over $30 million into the local economy, ranking it among the biggest weekends for any event held in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas event will be the fifth global stop in the HSBC Sevens Series for the competing nations. The United States, Argentina, Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand, England, France, Japan, Australia, Samoa, Wales, Russia, Portugal, Canada, Scotland and Kenya will be competing on the men’s side in Las Vegas.

In addition to the USA Sevens, Las Vegas will also concurrently host the Las Vegas Invitational, the largest amateur rugby competition in the western hemisphere, featuring athletes and match-ups across a wide-range of rugby divisions and age groups.

About United World Sports:

United World Sports (UWS) LLC hosts a dynamic line up of emerging sports properties and has quickly become the leader at delivering premier international sports properties to U.S. audiences. UWS’ flagship property is the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament held annually in Las Vegas. This exciting 16-nation, three-day tournament has become the largest attended rugby event in North America with more than 80,000 fans coming to Sam Boyd Stadium. Broadcast live on NBC Sports the tournament serves as the only U.S. stop on a nine-city world tour and reaches more than 400 million television households worldwide. Additional UWS properties include the Las Vegas Invitational, which occurs alongside the USA Sevens and is the largest participatory rugby tournament in the western hemisphere; the America’s Rugby Seven’s Cup; the Penn Mutual College Rugby Championship (CRC); and the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championship.

About USA Sevens Rugby:

The annual USA Sevens international rugby tournament is the premier rugby event in North America as well as the fifth event out of ten in the HSBC Sevens World Series. Fans in attendance will see 16 international rugby sevens teams play 45 matches during a three-day competition in an attempt to gain points in the Sevens World Series standings. Fans can stay updated on all the latest USA Sevens Rugby news, events and details by following on Facebook (USA Sevens Rugby Tournament And Festival), Twitter (@USASevensRugby), Vine (@USASevensRugby) and Instagram (@USASevensRugby).

Played on the same size field as traditional 15-player rugby, rugby sevens is played with just seven players per team. Matches have seven-minute halves with two-minute intervals for pool and knock-out matches. The fast pace and short duration of matches makes every moment of the action thrilling for spectators.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

United World Sports/ Joe Favorito/fatherknickerbocker1@yahoo.com/201.746.0005

USA Sevens/Jaclyn Dadas / Lea Komitzky/Kirvin Doak Communications/USASevensRugby@KirvinDoak.comjonhinkin

Penn Mutual Extends and Enhances Its Title Sponsorship of the Collegiate Rugby Championship

Penn Mutual, United World Sports and NBC Sports Group Announce Landmark Sponsorship Extension of Collegiate Rugby Championship and Varsity Cup Rugby Championship
Expanded Partnership Through 2019 Will Feature New Broadcast Elements, On-Campus Activation Programs And Title Sponsorship

Horsham, Pa. – February 4, 2016 – The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, United World Sports and NBC Sports Group have today announced a landmark extension and expansion of their partnership for the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the largest collegiate rugby event in the world, and The Penn Mutual Varsity Cup, the national collegiate championship of the 15-a-side rugby format. The CRC is played annually at Talen Energy (formerly PPL) Park, in Philadelphia (this year on June 4-5), Pa., while the Varsity Cup final will be held on May 7.
The expansion of the deal, which began in 2014, includes Penn Mutual holding title sponsorship for both events through 2019, a significantly expanded year-long presence across all NBC Sports Group and UWS rugby properties, including dedicated coverage of the women’s CRC final; and expanded marketing connections to more than 900 colleges and universities through official equipment and apparel provider, Rhino Rugby.

“Our initial partnership far exceeded our expectations, and we are very excited to be able to work with UWS and NBC Sports to expand and extend our agreement,” said Eileen McDonnell, Penn Mutual’s Chairman, President & CEO. “We continue to grow our offerings and find new ways to reach a younger and more engaged audience, and rugby has proven to be an extremely effective platform in reaching our objectives.”

“We are very proud to be able to announce this extension with our partners at Penn Mutual and NBC Sports,” said Jonathan First, President of United World Sports. “We continue to see rugby grow as a property on all levels across the United States, and this expansion solidifies rugby’s continued growth while helping Penn Mutual achieve their goals of engaging with a young and engaged audience on college campuses across the country.”

“We remain bullish about rugby as both a collegiate and an Olympic property,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “2016 is going to be an exciting year for the sport, highlighted by its return to the Olympics in Rio this August. We’re thrilled to showcase the best rugby at the collegiate and international levels this year, and we believe Penn Mutual’s commitment to the CRC and Varsity Cup demonstrates rugby’s upward trend in domestic popularity in the coming years.”

Rugby sevens returns to the Olympic Games in 2016, following an 92-year hiatus, where the United States will defend its gold medal from the 1924 Olympics in Paris. The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship is part of a nationwide effort to build American rugby talent in preparation for the Olympics. In the past four years, the CRC has produced 15 players who have gone on to play for the U.S. National teams.

The Penn Mutual CRC, known as the “World’s Largest Collegiate Rugby Festival” also includes a collegiate women’s rugby bracket, and the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) national championship, as well as a national high school tournament with both boys and girls teams. Fields for each of those events will be announced in 2016.
The schools in the recently-announced 2016 Men’s CRC field will be: Arizona, Arkansas State, Army, Boston College, California, Clemson, Dartmouth, Drexel, Indiana, Kutztown, Life, Michigan, Navy, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Carolina, St. Joe’s, Temple, UCLA, Virginia Tech, and winners of four 2016 qualifying events: the Las Vegas Invitational, and the Big Ten, Atlantic Coast, and Southeastern Conference championships. Cal is the three time defending champion in the men’s event.

The Penn Mutual Varsity Cup features fourteen of the most recognized and accomplished collegiate men’s rugby programs in the country vying for the right to be named the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Champion. The 2016 Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championship will commence with four rounds of single-elimination tournament play on April 9, with the quarterfinals contested April 16 and semifinals on April 23. The Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Rugby Championship final will take place on May 7 in Provo, Utah. Tournament seedings and venues are expected to be announced shortly.

The field includes: Army, Arizona State, Arkansas State, BYU, Cal, Utah, UCLA, Navy, Dartmouth, Notre Dame, Texas, Air Force, Central Washington, Clemson, Penn State and Oklahoma.
NBC and NBCSN will once again present The Penn Mutual Varsity Cup and the Penn Mutual CRC, with Varsity Cup being shown on May 7 from 4-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, and the CRC airing from 2-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN and 4-6PM ET on NBC on both June 4 and 5.

About The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company
Since its founding in 1847, Penn Mutual has been driven by its noble purpose to create a world of possibilities. At the heart of this purpose is the belief that purchasing life insurance is the most protective, responsible and rewarding action a person can take, and is central to a sound financial plan. The company is committed to helping individuals, families and small businesses unlock life’s possibilities through life insurance and annuity solutions. This is accomplished through a national network of more than 5,000 financial professionals, who help clients make great things possible. Penn Mutual supports its field representatives with brokerage services through Hornor, Townsend & Kent, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor and wholly owned subsidiary. Member FINRA/SIPC. Visit Penn Mutual on the Internet at http://www.pennmutual.com/.

About United World Sports
United World Sports (UWS) is the largest commercial rugby entity in the United States, and the owner and operator of a growing portfolio of dynamic sports, media and apparel brands including, the USA Sevens Rugby international tournament, the largest professional rugby event in North America; the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the premier college 7s rugby championship; and the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Championship, the 15s national rugby championship. Through its apparel division, UWS owns the exclusive North and South American license for Rhino Rugby, one of the world’s leading rugby apparel and equipment brands. UWS also owns and operates RugbyToday.com, the largest and most widely read media destination dedicated to American rugby. For more information about UWS and its properties, visit: http://www.unitedworldsports.com

About NBC Sports Group
When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of a unique array of broadcast television, cable television, radio and digital sports assets, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN (NBC Sports Network), Golf Channel, 11 NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital

Contact
Kim Harmsen, Gregory FCA (610) 228-2134 kim@gregoryFCA.com
Keith Bratz, Penn Mutual, (215) 956-7907 bratz.keith@pennmutual.com
Joe Favorito, UWS Public Relations, (201) 746-0005, fatherknickerbocker1@yahoo.com
Jamie Palatini, NBC Sports Group, (203) 356-2791, Jamie.palatini@nbcuni.com

Penn Mutual to Title Sponsor the Collegiate Rugby Championship and Varsity Cup Rugby Championship

Sponsorship driven by sport’s increasing popularity, solidifies Philadelphia as the home of collegiate rugby

Horsham, Pa. – September 15, 2014 – The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, United World Sports and NBC Sports Group have announced a three-year title sponsorship for the Collegiate Rugby Championship, the largest Rugby 7’s (7 players a side) collegiate rugby championship in the United States. The Collegiate Rugby Championship, which takes place at PPL Park in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, will now be called ”The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship.” In addition, Penn Mutual has committed to be the title sponsor for The Varsity Cup, the national collegiate championship of the 15-a-side rugby format. The Varsity Cup, which is played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, will now be named “The Penn Mutual Varsity Cup.”

Penn Mutual is committed to work with UWS and NBC Sports Group to establish the Collegiate Rugby Championship as an iconic world-class Philadelphia-based sports event, on par with national championships in other major sports in the United States.

According to Jonathan First, President of United World Sports, “This sponsorship establishes rugby, which is now the fastest growing sport in America, as a powerful corporate marketing and branding tool – one with the same cache of soccer, appealing to an American market comprised, in part, of business leaders and decision makers. We congratulate Penn Mutual on their forward-looking decision, and we’re eager to help them connect their brand with our audience of devoted fans, dedicated players and quality institutions from around the country.”

“Our sponsorship is part of a long-term business-building strategy to extend the Penn Mutual brand to consumers, financial professionals, and student athletes,” says Eileen McDonnell, Penn Mutual’s Chairman, President & CEO. “Like rugby, Penn Mutual enjoys a long and esteemed history–167 years of service to our policyholders. And, like rugby, we are more cutting edge than ever, having doubled our market share since the financial crisis of 2008. Rugby provides a clean slate for us to share our optimistic view of how life insurance not only protects, but also allows people to do more in life and leave a lasting legacy. The sponsorship also gives us the opportunity to attract new talent by gaining exposure to the student athletes of major national colleges and universities. All of us at Penn Mutual are excited about the possibilities afforded by The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship and The Penn Mutual Varsity Cup.”

Rugby 7s returns to the Olympic Games in 2016, following an 84-year hiatus, where the United States will defend its gold medal from the 1924 Olympics in Paris. The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship is part of a nationwide effort to build American rugby talent in preparation for the Olympics. In the past three years, the Collegiate Rugby Championship has produced 15 players who have gone on to play for the U.S. National teams. In the 2014 Collegiate Rugby Championship, 20 of the top colleges and universities competed for the title, including Penn State, Notre Dame, Texas, Michigan, Navy, Ohio State and reigning national champion, The University of California Golden Bears. Beginning in 2015, a portion of Penn Mutual’s sponsorship investment will be awarded to the winning team, the proceeds of which will be used to build the team’s rugby program on-campus.

For its participation, Penn Mutual will tell its story to millions of Americans through TV exposure on NBC, NBCSN, Universal Sports Network, Comcast SportsNet, in-event branding, online and digital marketing, and through localized and national promotions and events throughout the year.

“We’re thrilled to have Penn Mutual join our partnership with United World Sports in support of the Collegiate Rugby Championship and The Varsity Cup,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports Group. “We believe Penn Mutual’s support will aid in the growth and popularity of these events, and the sport of rugby across the U.S.”

According to McDonnell, “This sponsorship squarely provides Penn Mutual with a smart, effective way of reaching a vital new audience that can benefit from the power of life insurance as well as the career opportunities it offers.”

About The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company
Since its founding in 1847, Penn Mutual has been driven by its noble purpose to create a world of possibilities. At the heart of this purpose is the belief that purchasing life insurance is the most protective, responsible and rewarding action a person can take, and is central to a sound financial plan. The company is committed to helping individuals, families and small businesses unlock life’s possibilities through life insurance and annuity solutions. This is accomplished through a national network of more than 5,000 financial professionals, who help clients make great things possible. Penn Mutual supports its field representatives with brokerage services through Hornor, Townsend & Kent, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor and wholly owned subsidiary. Member FINRA/SIPC. Visit Penn Mutual on the Internet at http://www.pennmutual.com/.

About United World Sports
United World Sports (UWS) is the largest commercial rugby entity in the United States, and the owner and operator of a growing portfolio of dynamic sports, media and apparel brands including, the USA Sevens Rugby international tournament, the largest professional rugby event in North America; the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the premier college 7s rugby championship; and the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup Championship, the 15s national rugby championship. Through its apparel division, UWS owns the exclusive North and South American license for Rhino Rugby, one of the world’s leading rugby apparel and equipment brands. UWS also owns and operates RugbyToday.com, the largest and most widely read media destination dedicated to American rugby. For more information about UWS and its properties, visit: http://www.unitedworldsports.com

ABOUT NBC SPORTS GROUP
When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of a unique array of broadcast television, cable television, radio and digital sports assets, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN (NBC Sports Network), Golf Channel, 11 NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital.

Contact: Kim Harmsen Keith Bratz
Gregory FCA Penn Mutual
(610) 228-2134 (215) 956-7907
Kim@GregoryFCA.com bratz.keith@pennmutual.com

Joe Favorito Jamie Palatini
UWS Public Relations NBC Sports Group
(201) 746-0005 (203) 356-2791
fatherknickerbocker1@yahoo.com Jamie.palatini@nbcuni.com

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UWS partners with NDP Championships to create The Sevens Championship

DENVER, Colorado – NDP Championships, a division of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, and United World Sports (UWS) announced today a national partnership centered around the formation of The Sevens Championship as the first-ever youth and high school rugby sevens North American championship tournament. The Sevens Championship, which will be held annually in Florida from December 29-31, will be a USA Rugby sanctioned event featuring the top boys’ and girls’ pre-collegiate rugby teams in the nation.

“This is a monumental day for rugby, as The Sevens Championship will redefine the sport’s competitive landscape,” said Steve Govett, president of NDP. “We couldn’t have found a better partner for this event and concept than UWS.”

The inaugural event will welcome the sport’s top teams through an At-Large application process. A qualification format similar to what NDP currently uses for its lacrosse property, the DICK’S Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions presented by Pasco County, will be unveiled next year.

“The dedication of NDP to grow and develop the sport of the lacrosse in standards of play, participating numbers, and a business model workable for teams and tournaments caught our eye early on,” said UWS Vice President Dan Lyle. “With Kroenke Sports & Entertainment sharing the same goals when it comes to developing rugby and giving the sport a new platform, the partnership was a natural fit.”

The Olympic debut of the sport in 2016 has significantly increased its popularity and national media coverage. The Sevens Championship will offer the nation’s best youth and high school players the opportunity to compete on rugby’s grandest stage.

For more information on The Sevens Championship, including At-Large application information, visit TheSevensChampionship.com or call 303-575.1902.

About NDP Championships

NDP Championships is a wholly owned and operated division of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE). Founded in 2003 by lacrosse legend Gary Gait and acquired by KSE two years later, NDP is an event management company that operates tournaments and other special events throughout the United States. Its current lacrosse footprint is the largest in the nation, featuring more than 100,000 players annually.

About United World Sports

United World Sports (UWS) is the owner and operator of a growing portfolio of dynamic sports event, media and apparel brands. Its flagship sports event property is the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament held annually in Las Vegas. This exciting 16-nation, three-day tournament has become the largest attended rugby event in North America with more than 70,000 fans coming to Las Vegas annually. Broadcast live on NBC Sports the tournament serves as the only U.S. stop on a nine-city world tour and reaches more than 387 million television households worldwide.  Additional UWS event properties include the College Rugby Championship (CRC) and Varsity Cup National 15s Rugby Championship, both of which are broadcast on NBC, as well as the Las Vegas Invitational, America’s Rugby Seven’s Cup and Pro Soccer Challenge. Through its apparel division, UWS owns the exclusive North and South American license for Rhino Rugby, one of the world’s leading rugby apparel and equipment brands. UWS also owns and operates RugbyToday.com, the largest and most widely read media destination dedicated to American rugby.

Varsity Cup Adds Arizona State

Tweet It: @varsity_cup adds @asurfc (Arizona State) to the Varsity Cup Championship.

New York, NY – The Varsity Cup announced Thursday that Arizona State University will join its national collegiate rugby championship postseason in the spring of 2015.

“On behalf of the Varsity Cup universities and our commercial partner, United World Sports, I offer a sincere welcome to Arizona State,” said Varsity Cup founder and Brigham Young head coach David Smyth. “The Sun Devils are a rugby program on the rise, with strong support from their administration and local community. They will be another natural fit for the Varsity Cup.”

The addition of the Sun Devils brings to 14 the number of teams in the Varsity Cup, a single-elimination postseason tournament that began in 2013 with eight programs. Four more joined to create a 12-team field in the 2014 edition, and the decision by ASU follows the same move by Arkansas State earlier this summer to join BYU, Cal, Utah, UCLA, Navy, Dartmouth, Notre Dame, Texas, Air Force, Central Washington, Clemson and Oklahoma in next spring’s premier postseason for collegiate 15s. Together, the Varsity Cup field represents 31 of the 33 national collegiate champions crowned by USA Rugby and 69 of its final-four teams from the 1980 through 2012 postseasons.

The Sun Devils’ 133 team national championships all-time make ASU one of the most accomplished sporting universities in the United States. Rugby’s reentry as a medal sport at 2016 Summer Olympic Games adds further weight to the move by Arizona State, which has produced 160 Olympians since 1952.

Said Ray Anderson, Director of Athletics at ASU, “We are excited about the opportunity for our rugby team and pleased about Arizona State’s inclusion in the Varsity Cup, where the program will compete among the sport’s elite.”

Rugby was inaugurated at ASU in 1975 and has regularly ranked in the Top 25 in the country under head coach Gary Lane. “We are building for our future and see our inclusion as a necessary aspect of our development,” Lane said. “In recent years, we declined invitations to participate in the USA Rugby postseason and it was always our hope to receive a Varsity Cup place.”

Sun Devils fullback Adam Sandstrom, having just completed a national team trial at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., said, “I am confident that our team will rise to the occasion this season and in the years to come, proving that we are able to compete with the best teams in the country.”

About The Varsity Cup Rugby National Championship

The Varsity Cup is America’s top collegiate postseason national championship. The mission of the Varsity Cup is to grow American rugby by harnessing the collective strength of collegiate rugby and collegiate sport in general. The Varsity Cup features the most recognized and accomplished university rugby programs in the country, vying for the right to be named the collegiate 15s Varsity Cup National Champions.

About United World Sports

United World Sports (UWS) LLC hosts a dynamic line up of emerging sports properties and has quickly become the leader at delivering premier international sports properties to U.S. audiences. UWS’ flagship property is the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament held annually in Las Vegas. This exciting 16-nation, three-day tournament has become the largest attended rugby event in North America with more than 70,000 fans coming to Sam Boyd Stadium. Broadcast live on NBC Sports the tournament serves as the only U.S. stop on a nine-city world tour and reaches more than 350 million television households worldwide. Additional UWS properties include the Las Vegas Invitational, America’s Rugby Seven’s Cup, the College Rugby Championship (CRC), the Varsity Cup and the Pro Soccer Challenge.

Arkansas State joins Varsity Cup

Tweet It: @varsity_cup announces the addition of @ASTATERUGBY (Arkansas State) to the Varsity Cup Championship. http://bit.ly/1lCYewd

New York, NY – The Varsity Cup is pleased to announce that Arkansas State will be the newest addition to the national championship competition.

For the second time in two years, the Varsity Cup will be expanding. The competition will be moving from a 12-team format to a still undetermined larger tournament. “The Varsity Cup is being very selective in our expansion plans, we want the best performing teams which have established institutional support. Arkansas State is a very good example of this expansion standard,” stated David Smyth, Head Coach of National Champions’ Brigham Young University.

One of US rugby’s finest rugby programs, Arkansas State has made deep runs in the US rugby collegiate post-season over the last six consecutive seasons. The Red Wolves played a thrilling contest in the 2012 National Championship Final, a back and forth affair, before BYU defeated Arkansas State 49-42 for the national championship. Arkansas State is also a highly accomplished sevens team, having won consecutive USA Rugby Championships.

A relatively young program, the Arkansas State rugby team has been operating for 20 years. Over that time, the team has had 18 All-Americans.

Second year coach, Mani Delaibatiki, leads the Red Wolves. A native of Hamilton, New Zealand, Delaibatiki has been playing and coaching rugby for over 20 years and recently left Palmer College of Chiropractic to coach at Arkansas State. He took over the program founded by, Curt Huckaby, whose culmination of hard work and dedication has led to the development of the rugby program.

Due to Huckaby’s vision, Arkansas State University has been highly supportive of the program.

The Red Wolves are taking the next step in their rugby development by joining the Varsity Cup, a decision that was endorsed by the university. “Joining the Varsity Cup was strongly encouraged and supported by the Arkansas State University administrators. As a school, we are excited about this new venture because it gives us an opportunity to compete at the highest level of collegiate rugby, a challenge that we welcome and are excited about being a part of,” continued Delaibatiki.

Although Arkansas State has benefited from its current situation and competition in the USA Rugby post-season, the university determined that it was in the program’s best interest to join the Varsity Cup. Delaibatiki added that, “with the current makeup of the program, Arkansas State fits within the culture of the Varsity Cup and the teams that participate.”

“I have the type of players that know what it takes to compete, and will do all they can to get there. We are excited about this new post-season direction and challenge we are taking come spring 2015.”

With a history of success and campus support, Arkansas State is a strong addition to the Varsity Cup.

About The Varsity Cup Rugby National Championship

The Varsity Cup is America’s top collegiate postseason national championship. The mission of the Varsity Cup is to grow American rugby by harnessing the collective strength of collegiate rugby and collegiate sport in general. The Varsity Cup features the most recognized and accomplished university rugby programs in the country, vying for the right to be named the collegiate 15s Varsity Cup National Champions.

About United World Sports

United World Sports (UWS) LLC hosts a dynamic line up of emerging sports properties and has quickly become the leader at delivering premier international sports properties to U.S. audiences. UWS’ flagship property is the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament held annually in Las Vegas. This exciting 16-nation, three-day tournament has become the largest attended rugby event in North America with more than 70,000 fans coming to Sam Boyd Stadium. Broadcast live on NBC Sports the tournament serves as the only U.S. stop on a nine-city world tour and reaches more than 350 million television households worldwide. Additional UWS properties include the Las Vegas Invitational, America’s Rugby Seven’s Cup, the College Rugby Championship (CRC), the Varsity Cup and the Pro Soccer Challenge.

UWS Hosting New Rugby Sevens Format Exhibition

Can a professional rugby sevens league take off in the United States? We may find out in a couple of years.

United World Sports has organized a test match between the New York Rhinos and the Ontario Blues for Saturday, right before the Collegiate Rugby Championship at PPL Park in Philadelphia.

Jonathan First, president of United World Sports, says the exhibition is being held as a trial run, with the ultimate goal being creating a pro league for the “elongated form” of the blossoming sevens rugby format, which differs from the traditional 15s rugby. The notable differences between the two leagues is rugby sevens uses seven players as opposed to 15, and the matches are shorter.

“It’s a big deal for us,” First tells The Score. “Sevens rugby is very fast-paced. It’s like one fast break after the next, one option play after the next. It’s phenomenally geared toward an American audience.”

The development of the league coincides with the build-up toward the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where rugby sevens will be included for the first time ever. It also marks the first time any form of rugby has been an Olympic sport since 1924.
The league likely will start in 2016 and will have 12 teams, 10 based in the U.S. and two in Canada, all in “major cities.” First says there are talks to partner with Major League Soccer stadiums as host venues.

“We have a lot of interested parties coming from team owners, investors, television networks to look at this,” he said. “We’ve already done a lot of groundwork. We believe logistically to get everything in place at least a good year, but this big first step … is probably the key step to get this thing documented, played — whether we have to tweak the game, we’ll see — what kind of interest we have going forward, and we’ll move forward from there.”

Source: Daily News