Rugby Breaks into the Big Leagues

The sport's quadrennial World Cup is expected to draw 4 billion viewers and generate income of $200 million. But can it catch on in the U.S.?

Never heard of Jonny Wilkinson or the Haka? Chances are, you will soon. The Haka, a Maori war dance, is performed by New Zealand's national rugby team, the All Blacks, before every match. (For a demonstration, click on the YouTube video above.) And Wilkinson is a star player for England, the defending world rugby champion. With the Rugby World Cup opening in Paris on Sept. 7, both Jonny and the Haka are poised for a big dose of global exposure.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.