Rugby league has yet to fully break into the mainstream in America.
Despite a brilliant World Cup campaign in 2013 which had the game headed in the right direction across the pond helped along by frequent Leeds Rhinos friendlies in the country such as against South Sydney in 2008 and against Brian McDermott’s USA team in 2015, the game still hasn’t reached a real audience in America.
Perhaps Toronto would have helped things along, coupled with England vs New Zealand in that neck of the woods back in 2018, but neither were capitalised upon.
Toronto reached Super League but before they could play a game at home, financial issues and the pandemic ended their short Super League journey.
The NRL have always spoken about the untapped potential of the American market which is why they considered buying Super League back when Toronto were a part of it.
Way back when, they even held a State of Origin game in America back in 1987 but still the game has never taken off there, but now the game could have two stars who could bring the sport to the mainstream in America.
This comes as the NRL consider a pair of games in the USA with South Sydney and Manly interested and Manly’s interest could lead to perhaps their highest profile fan helping raise the profile of the game in America according to the Daily Mail.
That of course is Hugh Jackman who is of course from Australia but is well known around the world as a real Hollywood star especially for his performances as Wolverine, a role he is set to reprise soon in Deadpool 3.
According to the Daily Mail, Jackman would be keen on playing a role in helping rugby league break into the mainstream in America, a country in which he is loved.
He could also be joined by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson of course made his name in the WWE before making the leap to Hollywood and is films have grossed over $10 billion over time.
This comes as multi-millionaire Paul Langi Kinikini leads the NRL’s push for a game in the US, specifically in Utah.
Kinikini’s love for the sport likely comes through his Tongan heritage, and he has a strong relationship with Johnson and according to the Daily Mail is keen on using the former WWE Champion to promote the sport in the USA if this fixture in Utah comes to pass.