BNZ Crusaders & CRFU Purchase Minority Ownership of Seattle Seawolves
“It’s my absolute pleasure to bring a small group of four investors from rugby in New Zealand to play a part in the exciting journey that will be the Seattle Seawolves,” said Warren Goddard, Managing Director of FHG Ltd. “My company has been involved in the professional sports rights industry for over 20 years and I’m looking forward to the adventure alongside a high quality group of investors and in a city that I love.”
“As the oldest rugby organization in New Zealand we are excited to have secured a small stake in the future of professional rugby in the US,” said Canterbury Rugby CEO Nathan Godfrey. “We look forward to sharing our expertise of developing some of the world’s best rugby players with the Seawolves.”
The Crusaders have proven to be one of the most successful professional rugby clubs in the world. Based in Christchurch, New Zealand, they have won 8 Super Rugby titles ((1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 & 2017) and additionally have 4 more appearances in the Super Rugby final (2003, 2004, 2011 & 2014). Their combined 12 appearances are a league record by a wide margin, 6 more than the next best achieved side, the Brumbies.
"I couldn't be more thrilled to have the winning tradition of the Crusaders and Canterbury Rugby joining our ownership team,” said Seawolves co-owner Shane Skinner. “They are world class sports organizations and this partnership underscores the potential of professional rugby in America."
“The sport of rugby is a growing force in this community and around the world”, said Ralph Morton, Executive Director of the Seattle Sports Commission. “I believe that Seattle should be in the forefront of rugby’s expansion, supporting the development of youth programs, professional teams and hosting some of the highest profile matches in the world.”
“As a professional rugby club we are delighted to have the opportunity to take a small stake in the Seawolves, with our goal being to assist them with their entry into professional rugby in the US,” said Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach. “We look forward to helping where we can and supporting them in their exciting journey to be a successful professional team and club.”
The Seawolves recently announced the majority of its inaugural season roster that includes a number of seasoned rugby veterans Garrett Bender, Eric Duechle, and Nick Wallace. Bender competed with Team USA with the return of rugby sevens to the 2016 Olympics and will bring his explosive style of play to the Seawolves. Air Force captain and former USA Eagle, Duechle has been affectionately named ‘The Beast’ in the rugby community for his imposing frame at 6’5” and 250 lbs. Bellingham native, Wallace will also aid the Seawolves in their quest to win the first MLR championship, having began his rugby career with Chuckanut Bay Rugby Club and owning several years of experience with the US National Team.
The franchise is set for their April 22 season-opener and the first-ever professional rugby match in Seattle. A founding member of Major League Rugby, the Seattle Seawolves are set to kick-off vs. San Diego Legion at 5 pm/PT at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila. Tickets are available now by visiting www.SeattleSeawolves.com.
ABOUT THE SEATTLE SEAWOLVES
A founding member of Major League Rugby (MLR), the Seattle Seawolves kick off their inaugural season in 2018 at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington. With an ownership group led by Seattle-based entrepreneurs Adrian Balfour and Shane Skinner, the organization strives to develop, cultivate and expand the game of rugby in the U.S. while fostering discipline, duty, respect and a spirit of inclusion both on and off the pitch. Through community outreach efforts, the Seattle Seawolves fulfill a key pillar of the franchise’s philosophy, enriching the Puget Sound region’s youth through engagement, leadership and service.
Select Major League Rugby games will be televised on the CBS Sports Network as part of an exclusive, multi-year television partnership between MLR and the television network. Season tickets are now on sale; to purchase, please visit www.SeattleSeawolves.com.