Scrum, ruck, and maul! If you don't know these rugby terms, it's time to brush up, as Miami has a new pro sports team to cheer for.
In a private event on Wednesday at the Faena Theater, the Miami Sharks were officially introduced as the newest addition to Major League Rugby, which currently has 12 teams.
The team, which will begin playing in 2024, is owned by businessmen Ronaldo "Kony" Strazzolini, president of financial services firm Magna Capital; Alejandro Macfarlane, the main shareholder of Camuzzi Gas; Santiago Ocampo, managing director of Jefferies Asset Management; Marcos Galperín, president of Mercado Libre; and Edgardo Defortuna, president of Fortune International Group.
"We are excited to work closely with the Miami community to take the interest and passion for this sport to a new level," Macfarlane tells New Times. "The DNA of this sport is all about integrity, passion, discipline, solidarity, and respect, all words that we believe should be a part of this team and the environment we build."
The trio of owners are all rugby-loving, longtime friends. According to Macfarlane, the owners purchased the franchise rights in December and will invest approximately $20 million into the operation over the next four years. As for the team, it will have 32 to 36 total players. On Wednesday, the team announced its first signee, Argentina's Tomás Cubelli.
The Sharks will be coached by José Pellicena, who, among other head-coaching endeavors, led the M20 Pumitas Argentina National Team. According to Macfarlane, the team will make a handful of additional key hires, including a CEO, COO, assistant coach, and other executives, in the coming weeks and months.
"We are working on several different fronts," he says. "For players, we are working with some in Europe and South America, and we will start announcing more and more, especially after July when the current Major League Rugby season ends."
The biggest question for the Miami Sharks remains where the team will play. While the team's home stadium hasn't been finalized, Macfarlane says they anticipate making an announcement on that front in June or July.
"We are between a couple of venues that will hold 10,000 to 20,000 fans," he says. "We want it to be a professional space. A place we can all share in, be comfortable and spend the whole day around the stadium with friends and family."
For the latest developments on the Miami Sharks, fans are encouraged to visit its website, miamisharks.com, and social media channels.