RFL Names First Commissioner

GRAND PRIX ENTERTAINMENT
Launches America’s First Professional Rugby League

The USA Rugby
Exclusively Sanctioned and Licensed

Grand Prix
Rugby Football League

“A League of Barbarians”

RFL Founder Franchises
Targeting U.S. Major Media Markets

NEW YORK - CHICAGO - DALLAS - LOS ANGELES

Professional USA Volleyball Next

LOS ANGELES--()--The Grand Prix RFL, America’s first professional rugby sevens league, today announced the RFL Executive Board had named League Counsel Frank Grant of legal giant Perkins Coie, as the new league’s first Commissioner.

Commissioner Grant shall oversee all off the field formation matters of both the RFL as well as Grand Prix’s pending formation of its USA Volleyball Exclusively Sanctioned and Licensed indoor men and women’s professional leagues.

Grand Prix Chairman William Tatham endorsed Grant’s appointment stating, “Based on our extensive experience in the shark invested waters of new leagues where the hard hitting action takes place off the field, and sometimes in the courtroom, League Counsel Grant backed by Perkins Coie, is the right man, backed by the right legal team, at the right time.”

• Frank Grant is a senior counsel with Perkins Coie. Frank has been practicing law for over 17 years, representing entrepreneurs, emerging growth companies, venture capital firms and investors. Frank has particular experience with general corporate and securities matters, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity fund formation, intellectual property and strategic alliances. Frank is a graduate of University of California Berkeley, B.A., Economics and Political Science with high honors, and a member of the Cal Rugby team. Mr. Grant is a 1996 Stanford Law School, J.D. graduate, and received his M.B.A. from Stanford University in 2001.

Commissioner Grant emphasized the RFL’s commitment to the Father of American Football, stating, “90 years ago America’s greatest athletes played and dominated rugby world by winning the last Gold Medal awarded for rugby at the 1924 Olympics. 90 years later Americans remain bigger, stronger and faster and the RFL’s is committed to USA Rugby’s efforts take these elite athletes and win the Gold upon rugby’s return at the 2016 Rio Olympic Summer Games.”

Commissioner Grant then laid out his agenda stating, “Priority One will be to select the RFL’s Founding Franchise Owners from a growing list of prospects vying for the rare opportunity to acquire a major league franchise for major U.S. media markets such as New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. Priority Two will be to work with the RFL’s 4 Founding Franchisees in creating America’s first prosperous new sports league in over 60 years. Priority Three will be to have fun, make money and guarantee the RFL’s Sevens All-Stars win the Gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Summer Games.”

Tatham concluded, “The RFL has complete confidence that Commissioner Grant and USAR CEO Nigel Melville will successfully complete the joint USA Rugby – RFL mission to package the World’s Contact Sport for the World’s Greatest Sports Market. The RFL’s strategy is simple; (1) Exploit Grand Prix’s USA Rugby awarded Exclusive Sanction Rights; (2) Execute the RFL’s Two Phased Tour to League smart start; and (3) Monetize the RFL’s global media rights.”

Commissioner Grant then announced that the RFL will kick off the Phase-One Championship Tour, showcasing the RFL’s 4 Founding Franchises vs. 20 of the worlds great teams in the world’s richest sevens championships. The RFL’s Phase One Tour will be hosted in targeted RFL franchise cities such as New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. On the back of this 36 month Phase One Tour team, brand and market foundation, RFL’s Phase Two League will kick off regular season play using the new Olympic Rugby Sevens tournament format with a minimum of twelve U.S. franchise teams.

RFL FRANCHISE MARKETS

Only three RFL Founder Franchises remain, targeting the following sixteen major U.S. media markets:

EAST COAST DIVISION

     

WEST COAST DIVISION

Rank     Designated TV Market Area Rank     Designated TV Market Area

1

New York

2

Los Angeles

4

Philadelphia

6

San Francisco

5

Boston

13

Seattle

8

Washington

14

Phoenix

 

NORTHERN DIVISION

SOUTHERN DIVISION

Rank Designated TV Market Area Rank Designated TV Market Area

3

Chicago

7

Dallas

11

Detroit

9

Atlanta

15

Minneapolis

10

Houston

16

Cleveland

12

Miami

RFL FRANCHISE RECEPTIONS

Commissioner Grant announced the RFL will stage Franchise Receptions in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago, all leading to New York where USAR CEO Nigel Melville will host the RFL’s kick off event. Set for early 2014, the RFL Franchise Receptions will be hosted by the following esteemed members of the Grand Prix RFL team:

  • NEW YORK - Nigel Melville is USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer and President of Rugby Operations headquartered in Boulder, CO. Mr. Melville is former England national rugby union team scrum half and captain. USAR and Grand Prix Entertainment have formed an exclusively sanctioned partnership to create sanctioned indoor and outdoor professional rugby leagues in the US.
  • CHICAGO - Wally Hayward, W Partners, a Chicago-based sports and entertainment focused sponsorship agency. Hayward was previously with the Cubs as executive vice president, chief sales and marketing officer and is a veteran of more than 20 years in the sports marketing industry. He served as a senior advisor to Chicago 2016 to develop the corporate sponsorship model to generate $1.76 billion in revenue.
  • DALLAS - Robert P. Latham has tried significant cases in numerous jurisdictions involving a broadrange of subject matter. Latham has developed nationally recognized expertise in the areas of media law and intellectual property litigation and chairs both practice areas at Jackson Walker.
  • LOS ANGELES - Gary Marenzi, founder and president of Marenzi & Associates the former President of Paramount and then MGM Worldwide Television currently serves as Chairman of Grand Prix Studios responsible for the production and sales of Grand Prix’s sports broadcasting, pay-per-view, reality shows and other digital content related to its sports ventures starting with professional rugby in partnership with USA Rugby.

PREVIOUS RFL NEWS

  • The RFL, a sixteen team League of Barbarians’, will showcase the new Olympic sport of Rugby Sevens, which will debut at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.
  • Nigel Melville, CEO USA Rugby extended through 2018 the RFL’s U.S. Exclusive Sanction and License rights to own, operate and globally broadcast the professional sport of Rugby Sevens.
  • “Buttressed by exclusively sanctioned and licensed competitive advantages and protections no new sports league in American history has ever enjoyed, Olympic endorsement of the sport, and Rugby Sevens explosion on the global stage, the time was right for America’s first professional rugby league”, said William Tatham, GPE Founder and Chairman.
  • “The RFL represents the greatest major market sports franchise opportunity in the last 50 years. Name the last time New York, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles franchises were all available,” said Eric White, of RFL financial advisor, Capitol Pacific Group.
  • Globally branded as the ‘Contact Sport of the World’, the RFL’s exclusively owned sport of Rugby Sevens has seen a global broadcast and attendance explosion via the HSBC IRB Sevens World Series http://www.irbsevens.com/archive/tcode=1270/season=2012/news/newsid=2068533.html#record+broadcast+hsbc+sevens+world+series.
  • Domestically branded as the “Father of American Football”, the RFL’s exclusively owned sport of Rugby Sevens, has also proven to be a major live and television success in the United States. The USAR hosted and Las Vegas based USA Sevens, the HSBC Sevens World Series tour stop, drew a U.S. record attendance of 67,000 paid in 2013, while seen live on NBC (http://www.usasevens.com).
  • Try to name one new league that ever launched off such a solid legal, market and brand platform. Trust me, there isn’t one”, emphasized Rich Rose, Special Advisor to the Commissioner. Rose served in a similar role with the XFL following his role as President and COO of Caesars World Sports.

MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY

Commissioner Grant concluded, “Finally, as a former player and passionate fan of USA Rugby sanctioned fifteens rugby, I asked and was given the green light to maximize economies of scale inherent in Grand Prix’s multi media production and global distribution platform and analyze the feasibility of a fifteens rugby based league under the brand, Major League Rugby (“MLR”). With Major League Soccer franchises selling for over $100 million, the question isn’t why, but why not the MLR?” Playing the traditional 90-minute game via a traditional regular season format, the MLR will be modeled after the successful MLS, which recently announced the sale of the New York MLS expansion team to the New York Yankee at a franchise fee estimated at $100 million. Grand Prix’s MLR will offer RFL Founder Franchisees the dual opportunity to own professional rugby coast to coast and sideline to sideline.

GRAND PRIX VOLLEYBALL

Grand Prix and Exclusively Sanctioned and Licensed joint venture partner and U.S. Olympic Committee member USA Volleyball confirmed that plans were being finalized with a formal announcement imminent re the long awaited launch of the Grand Prix Volleyball League (the “VBL”). Offering Founding Franchises in America’s first professional indoor volleyball leagues for both men and women, the VBL will kick off via Grand Prix’s innovative two-phased platform. Grand Prix Chairman Tatham stated, “Our objective is to offer Grand Prix’s Founding Franchisees the rare opportunity to maximize economies of scale and equity appreciation by owning both professional rugby and volleyball franchises in their desired major U.S. media market.”

ABOUT GRAND PRIX ENTERTAINMENT. Grand Prix Entertainment is a diversified multimedia production and distribution company that owns and manages sports, entertainment and gaming properties. Visit www.www.GrandPrixRFL.com

ABOUT USA RUGBY. Founded in 1975, USA Rugby is an official member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Rugby Board (IRB). The organization has approximately 98,000 members and is responsible for the development of the boys, girls, high school, collegiate and club rugby programs, and ultimately all of the national teams representing the U.S. in international competitions. USA Rugby's national headquarters is located in Boulder, Colo., and is run by full-time staff under the direction of current CEO and President of Rugby Operations Nigel Melville. For more information, please visit http://usarugby.org

ABOUT USA VOLLEYBALL. On the heels of the 2012 London Olympics, successfully showcasing the truly American sport both on and off the court, USA Volleyball (USAV) announced it had awarded Grand Prix the United States exclusive sanction, license and global broadcast rights for professional men’s and women’s indoor volleyball for an initial term through 2018. USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal stated, “USA Volleyball has long awaited the day when America’s professional sports market re-awakens to our great indoor game. Volleyball has enjoyed incredible growth over the years, along with success at the Olympic games and other international events. The creation of a professional indoor volleyball league is the last piece of the puzzle in taking the game to the next level. USA Volleyball is excited to partner with Grand Prix Entertainment’s sports and entertainment team. Their extensive expertise in sports, broadcast and entertainment convinced us to make this exclusive, comprehensive and long-term commitment." Visit http://www.USAVolleyball.org

ABOUT PERKINS COIE, Legal Counsel FOR GRAND PRIX RUGBY, LLC in connection with corporate and general counseling matters. With more than 900 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States and Asia, Perkins Coie represents great companies across a wide range of industries and stages of growth—from start-ups to FORTUNE 50 corporations. Founded in 1912, the Seattle-based firms earliest clients included William E. Boing Sr. Perkins Coie was named the 2011-2012 Law Firm of the Year in Venture Capital Law by U.S. News - Best Lawyers, the Emerging Companies & Venture Capital Group at Perkins Coie helps founders and investors build and protect great companies. Visit http://www.perkinscoie.com

ABOUT CAPITOL PACIFIC GROUP. CPG is a boutique advisory firm offering a unique mix of financial advisory, capital raising and strategic business development services focused on the media and entertainment sector. The firm combines its finance and direct business operations experience in several industry sectors – including media and entertainment, producing, sports and technology – and its unique political expertise to help clients achieve their goals. For more information, visit http://www.cappacificgroup.com

ABOUT FENZI MEDIA GROUP. Fenzi provides clients with results-oriented corporate development capabilities that include strategy and brand development, marketing, collateral, web technologies, media, advertising, high level corporate documents and decks, and public relations. Fenzi is a highly versatile team, committed to providing products and services that benefit and help their clients to achieve their goals. Their broad expertise and main practice areas include professional sports, technology, biomedical and real estate. For information visit http://www.fenzi.com

Contacts

Franchise Opportunities: League Counsel
Perkins Coie LLP
Frank Grant, Esq.
PHONE: 310-788-9900 x3244 DIRECT: 310-788-3244
fgrant@perkinscoie.com
www.perkinscoie.com/fgrant/
or
Front Office, Coaching and Player Opportunities: RFL League Office
Kelly & Kelley, LLP
William Tatham, Esq.
PHONE: 424-279-8252
LeagueOffice@GrandPrixRugby.com
www.GrandPrixRFL.com
or
Financial Information: Corporate and League Advisor
Capitol Pacific Group
Eric White, Esq.
PHONE: 415-847-2715
ewhite@cappacificgroup.com
www.cappacificgroup.com

http://www.usarugby.org/

http://www.usarugby.org/

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Release Summary

Grand Prix RFL Names Commissioner, Franchises in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Olympic Sport of Rugby Sevens, Professional USA Volleyball Next

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Contacts

Franchise Opportunities: League Counsel
Perkins Coie LLP
Frank Grant, Esq.
PHONE: 310-788-9900 x3244 DIRECT: 310-788-3244
fgrant@perkinscoie.com
www.perkinscoie.com/fgrant/
or
Front Office, Coaching and Player Opportunities: RFL League Office
Kelly & Kelley, LLP
William Tatham, Esq.
PHONE: 424-279-8252
LeagueOffice@GrandPrixRugby.com
www.GrandPrixRFL.com
or
Financial Information: Corporate and League Advisor
Capitol Pacific Group
Eric White, Esq.
PHONE: 415-847-2715
ewhite@cappacificgroup.com
www.cappacificgroup.com