The Professional Rugby Team Secures the AutoNation Sports Field at the Florida Blue Training Center as their Home Field Beginning in January 2024
MIAMI, FLORIDA (September 15, 2023)
The Florida Blue Training Center, home of Major League Soccer Club Inter Miami CF, announced on Friday a landmark deal with the Miami Sharks Rugby Club. The relationship announces that the Miami Sharks Rugby Club, the newest Major League Rugby franchise, becomes the first official partner outside of the Inter Miami CF traditional fútbol family to use the state-of-the-art training center daily. The Miami Sharks will join the Inter Miami CF First Team, Second Team and Academy teams at the facilities commencing in the first quarter of 2024, also marking the inaugural season for the Miami Sharks. The AutoNation Sports Field located at the Florida Blue Training Center in the City of Fort Lauderdale will serve as the matchday venue for the Professional Rugby Club and also provide access to the top-tier training resources of Inter Miami.
“This is an exciting opportunity for unique collaboration with a new face in the South Florida sports landscape. We are happy to provide the Miami Sharks a home and access to the state-of-the-art resources of the Florida Blue Training Center as we come together at a special time for sports fans in South Florida,” said Inter Miami CF Chief Business Officer, Xavier Asensi.
The AutoNation Sports Field, currently utilized as a training and event space, will become the official home field for the Miami Sharks. To facilitate this transition, the facilities will undergo extensive preparations, including the addition of seating to accommodate an approximate capacity of 5,000 spectators.
The agreement encompasses a comprehensive collaboration that extends beyond the realm of sports. Notably, this partnership includes a provision for facilitating and introducing partnerships, thereby establishing a mutually beneficial opportunity.
The Miami Sharks has strong Argentine roots as the Club’s inaugural captain, Tomás Cubelli, is the star of the Argentina Rugby National Team, nicknamed Los Pumas. Cubelli and Argentina begun their 2023 World Cup campaign on Sept. 8 in Marsella France.
Tomas Cubelli is a player admired by fans of Los Pumas; the only American team ranked in the top 10 of World Rugby. All his experience will be capitalized by the Miami franchise, where the largest community of Argentines abroad resides, around 70,000 people.
“I am very excited to join the Miami Sharks in this exhilarating journey and to move to Miami, the capital of the world of professional sports” said Tomas Cubelli, as he gets ready for 2024 MLR Season.
With double-digit growth in attendance and viewership since its inception in 2018, Major League Rugby presents a promising platform, including substantial fan base growth, that has flourished in Florida and Miami in recent years. Marcos Galperin, founder, and CEO of MercadoLibre, has made the strategic choice to invest in the Miami Sharks, underscoring the increasing allure of rugby in this dynamic market.
“It is an honor for us to train and play in the facilities where IMCF trains, we are convinced our players will thrive in such an environment and look forward to the crowds being able to enjoy another team action sport in the Miami area” said Marcos Galperin from Miami Sharks Rugby.
The partnership highlights Inter Miami CF’s dedication to fostering the growth of local sports in South Florida, particularly notable with fútbol and now extending to rugby, ahead of respective World Cups coming to the United States in 2026 and 2031.
Given the robust Latin American connection of both teams, the promise of an intensely passionate game experience is undeniable. The convergence of Inter Miami and the Miami Sharks brings together this shared cultural fervor, ensuring an electric atmosphere that will resonate with fans and spectators alike and reflects the shared commitment to advancing the sports landscape in the region.
About Miami Sharks
The Miami Sharks, who will begin competing during the 2024 Major League Rugby (MLR) season, are Florida’s first professional rugby franchise.The founding owners of the Miami Sharks have made the strategic choice to invest in the Miami Sharks, underscoring the increasing allure of rugby in this dynamic market. The founder’s team is led by Marcos Galperin, founder and president of the leading e-commerce and financial services company Mercado Libre, Alejandro Macfarlane and Ronaldo “Kony” Strazzolini. Among the confirmed players are Tomas Inciarte, Felipe Etcheverry, Manuel Ardao of the Uruguay National team. Jose Pellicena is the head coach, with over 15 years of years of experience dedicated to rugby development in Argentina, encompassing clubs, selections, and significant contributions to UAR (Argentina’s Rugby Union).For more information go to www.MiamiSharks.com
About Major League Rugby
Major League Rugby has 13 teams representing the highest level of rugby in the United States and Canada. Major League Rugby is a professional sports league representing the highest level of rugby competition in North America. Matches are televised on Fox Sports, among other national and local market platforms. Select matches are available to stream live in North America on The Rugby Network, and all matches are available on The Rugby Network for international fans. MLR prides itself in fostering intense, high-stakes competition while bringing together a passionate community built on the values of Respect, Inclusivity, and Tradition. For more information about MLR, visit www.MajorLeague.Rugby.
About the Florida Blue Training Center & AutoNation Sports Field
The Florida Blue Training Center is a 50,000-square-foot training facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which boasts six natural grass fields and one turf field for the development of professional and youth sports. The complex is leveraged to create unique activations for South Florida communities such as soccer clinics, and inclusive events for families and fans. The facility has welcomed the top National Teams and Club teams in the World including, World Champions, the Argentina Men’s National Team, FC Barcelona, River Plate, and the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams to name a few. The AutoNation Sports Field is currently host to Ft. Lauderdale High School Football Teams and beginning in 2024, the facility will also become home to the Miami Sharks Rugby Club.
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