Rugby - the fastest growing sport in the USA

Rugby - the fastest growing sport in the USA
There’s a wind of change blowing across American sport, and it should come as no real surprise that it’s being felt most keenly at high school and college level. Football is in decline for a combination of reasons. The complexity of arranging a “quick game” for a handful of kids is certainly one factor, especially compared to soccer, where two or three people can play straight away with just a ball and some improvised goal posts. 
But the growing body of evidence that playing football can be seriously detrimental to your health is by far the biggest issue. There are moves afoot to offer safer version of the game, but for every one individual willing to go down that road, three others will simply play something else instead. Sure, soccer is a popular choice, but the fastest growing sport of all is actually far closer to football in the American sense of the word – welcome to the world of rugby.
A growing fanbase
Rugby’s popularity might not be a major surprise to college sports fans. After all, over the past 20 years or so, it’s become a high school staple, and from a participatory perspective, it’s a sport that most students have tried. The major change in more recent years, however, is that it is starting to capture the imaginations of those sofa-based sports fans, too.
In part, that’s down to global coverage of major tournaments. The Six Nations, World Cup and even the English Premiership can be watched on subscription TV and streaming services from across the world. Rugby is also a firm favorite with all the new betting sites that are gradually arriving in states that have chosen to legalize sports betting. 
A bigger powerhouse than you thought
Rugby’s grass roots popularity is starting to bear fruit at the highest level. Despite it still being very much at the developmental stage, the USA is already able to field a team that can compete at the highest level. In fact, the men’s team is ranked number six in the world, while the women’s team is at number five. The latter, in particular, could be pivotal in making USA a genuine contender to take on the world. After all, just look at what happened in the women’s soccer World Cup last year. 
Rugby is another sport where the World Cup is the prize everyone wants above all else. USA won the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup back in 1991 and have been finalists on two subsequent occasions. Next year, they are expected to be right in the mix when the event is hosted in New Zealand, and a strong performance will cement the sport’s growing reputation.
That could have serious repercussions for the men’s game. Rumors persist that the USA could host the Men’s World Cup as soon as 2027, although 2031 seems a more realistic proposition. Either way, the sports scene is changing with every passing year. And rugby is squarely at the center of the action.