Honolulu Star-Advertiser


by Ferd Lewis

August 26, 2020

Kanaloa Hawaii is seeking eight to 12 dates to bring Major League Rugby competition to Aloha Stadium in 2021.

The Oneroa, New Zealand-based owners of the proposed MLR franchise have filed an application for use of the facility and Aloha Stadium manager Scott Chan said “a tentative rugby schedule is currently being negotiated.”

Chan said, “Kanaloa Hawaii has agreed to work around secured dates by existing clients along with the possibility that the University of Hawaii football season could occur during the spring season as well.”

If approved, Kanaloa would become the 14th franchise in the MLR, which is spread across the U.S. and Canada. Kanaloa received conditional approval from the MLR in June.

MLR Commissioner George Killebrew said he has been in contact with Kanaloa Hawaii Sports Entertainment Limited, which is due to make its first installment on the franchise fee payment Sept. 1. “We’re going to work with them, we feel like they are close,” Killebrew said.

MLR officials declined to disclose the size of the fee, but it is believed to be in the neighborhood of $4 million.

In addition, the team must come up with a home site, a COVID-19 plan and other arrangements to secure final approval, Killebrew said.

The league was scheduled to start its 2021 season in February but due to the pandemic Killebrew said he expects that to be pushed back. “We already moved our training camps back a little bit and now they may begin in November,” Killebrew said.

On its Aloha Stadium application, Kanaloa projected crowds of “50,000-100,00” over the eight to 12 dates.

In similar cases, Aloha Stadium regularly charges $2,500 per event or 10% of ticket revenue, whichever is greater.