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Austin MLR team gains new name and owners, NOLA Gold partners with Clermont Auvergne

Major League Rugby team Austin Herd has been renamed the Austin Gilgronis (the AGs) and will relocate to the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) ahead of the 2020 season as part of an ownership change.

The “Gilgronis” are named after “a new Texas-sized cocktail, to be released soon,” according to a press release.

Loyals LLC, an international rugby investment company based in Australia, has taken immediate control of the franchise and all business operations.

The team will move to Bold Stadium in motor racing circuit COTA – which is currently used by United Soccer League Championship team Austin Bold FC – having previously playing home games at the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex.

Venue upgrades are being discussed, including pool bars, premium hospitality structures, entertainment suites and a significant increase to seating capacity, which is currently 5,000.

“Fans can look forward to high-adrenaline matches and pre-game festivities, including a human fireball, fire spinner, fire breathers, BBQ championships, cheerleading championships, and much more,” said Loyals LLC chief executive Matt Burgess

Ticket prices will be just $8 for general admission and $5 for families. It was also announced that fans who purchased Austin Herd merchandise from December 2019 onward can replace it for free with AGs merchandise at home games.

Meanwhile, the New Orleans-based NOLA Gold has entered into a cooperation and partnership agreement with French rugby union club ASM Clermont Auvergne, which has acquired a minority stake in the MLR team.

In addition to an “athletic exchange,” the two teams will also develop cultural exchanges between Louisiana and central France, including facilitating student athletes exchanges between the universities of these areas. The teams will also look to promote each other in their different markets.

Earlier this month, Rugby United New York announced that New Zealand-based private equity investment company Bolton Equities Ltd. will acquire a significant stake in the team. RUNY has also secured a partnership with United Kingdom-based sport tour operator Venatour, which will become the team’s official travel partner and its official supporter packages partner.

Elsewhere, expansion team Toronto Arrows has named Canadian athletic apparel retailer lululemon as its official club lifestyle brand partner. As part of the deal, lululemon will outfit the squad with travel and lifestyle attire for the coming season.

The Washington DC-based Old Glory DC has named the St. Gregory Hotel as the official hotel partner for the team’s inaugural 2020 season. The newly-renovated boutique hotel will host visiting opponents and provide special rates to out-of-town fans.

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