The42 - Seattle Seawolves & Adrian Balfour


The inaugural season of Major League Rugby [MLR], a professional competition, finished three weeks ago when the Seattle Seawolves beat the Glendale Raptors in the final in San Diego.

It was a proud day for Irishman Adrian Balfour, a native of Letterbreen, ”a wee farming community” in Fermanagh, close to the Cavan border.

Balfour is general manager and co-founder of the Seattle team and heads up a group of 20 investors who are excited about the future of the Seawolves and rugby in the US.

It was a hugely positive first season for MLR, with encouraging attendances, television coverage by CBS, AT&T and ESPN, as well as a promising level of quality in the games. Already, there are new clubs confirmed to expand MLR from seven teams next year.

Seattle’s success – they’ve been dubbed “Seattle’s hottest new startup” – is a prime example of the growth in interest in rugby in the States, as well as the sustainability of the new MLR model.

Balfour was confident that interest in the Seawolves would grow but even he was blown away by the sell-out crowd of 3,500 at their first home game.

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Article: Murray Kinsella. Photos: Seawolves