South Sydney co-owner and Hollywood icon, Russell Crowe, is reportedly playing an important off-stage role in the National Rugby League‘s (NRL) venture into Las Vegas. His involvement is surprising given his reputation for being more comfortable in the limelight rather than behind the scenes. Conversely, fellow actor and avid rugby league supporter, Hugh Jackman, remains elusive for the NRL‘s American push.
Unnamed sources revealed that Crowe recently met with NRL executives, but the specifics of this meeting remain undisclosed. Despite his reluctance for public appearances in this venture, Crowe is said to be a passionate advocate of NRL’s attempt to penetrate the US market. His team, the Rabbitohs, are at the forefront of this endeavour.
NRL officials are hopeful of getting Jackman, a fervent Sea Eagles fan, on board. However, finalising his involvement appears to be a bit of a challenge. Crowe has warned league officials that introducing the sport in the US will be far from easy.
Crowe and Jackman were expected to be the figureheads for the anticipated South Sydney v Manly game. Unless there are last-minute changes, it’s uncertain if either of them will appear at the NRL’s launch this month. It’s also not yet confirmed if Crowe will join Souths when they prepare for the game in San Diego next February, then proceed to Vegas.
NRL officials have yet to secure Jackman’s involvement in promoting the Las Vegas event. Originally, his support would have given the NRL a boost in the US market, but the governing body is now shifting strategies and tying up with other sports and sports stars to push for the event.
It’s without a doubt that Crowe’s established connections will prove useful as the NRL gears up to make its mark in the highly competitive American sports scene.