England and New Zealand will compete in an international game in Denver later this year as part of a long-term deal to promote rugby league in the United States ahead of its co-hosting of the World Cup in 2025.
Moore Sports International, promoter of the international fixture, confirmed today (Tuesday) that the game will be played at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the 76,000-capacity home of NFL American football franchise Denver Broncos, on June 23.
June’s game is the first of a three-year deal that will see an England-New Zealand Test played in the US on an annual basis. News of a possible agreement was first reported in December, with Moore Sports also being the driving force behind taking the 2025 World Cup to North America.
The 2025 World Cup will mark the first time the event has taken place outside of Europe and Australasia. In November 2016, the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) confirmed that the US and Canada would stage the tournament after the two countries also bid for the 2021 event, only to lose out to England.
Rugby Football League (RFL) interim chief executive, Ralph Rimmer, said: “Successful World Cup tournaments and the entry of Toronto Wolfpack into the UK competition have increased the popularity of the international game and we are all keen to take advantage of this and grow our sport across the world.
“Moore Sports International is well aware of how innovative the sport is and offered an exciting opportunity to take our players and showcase their talents and our game to an important sporting market.”
Chair of the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL), Reon Edwards, added: “Rugby League is making impressive strides in the United States and Canada. This Test match is an opportunity to showcase the highest level of our sport in the North American market, which has significant participation and commercial potential.
“NZRL has worked with the Rugby Football League and the Rugby League International Federation on this, agreeing to play a New Zealand-England Test in the United States each year for the next three years.”