CHICAGO – At 1 p.m. at SeatGeek Stadium on Sunday, a new professional team will be playing its first home game.

For so many who’ve worked hard over the past few months to make it happen, it will be something special as they introduce Major League Rugby to Chicago.

“It will be fantastic for a lot of people,” said Chicago Hounds co-founder, CEO, and general manager James English of the contest against the Utah Warriors Sunday. “A lot of people have worked really hard for this.”

They’ve also worked really quickly to get the 12th franchise in MLR off the ground at the end of 2022 and early into this year. The franchise was officially introduced at a news conference in November, and in that time, English along with the rest of the staff built up a team on the field and staff for matters of it.

On February 18, just over three months to the day of the team’s announcement, the team played its inaugural match against Old Glory DC in Leesburg, Virginia, losing 42-27.

“We’ve done this in a short runway, but we’ve got a fantastic group of players, a lot of experience, there’s a lot of American talent on the team and some foreign talent sprinkled in there as well,” said English. “It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been as easy as anyone could do it, and if there’s a place where you can do it anywhere, it would be in Chicago.

“So it’s been a bold statement for us to try to get this team on the field and I think you’ll see a really bold performance.”

That would be a good way for this new team to introduce itself to an audience not only new to the Hounds but to the sport itself. The hope is to showcase the best attributes of the game of rugby while matching it with the fan experience before and during the game.

“We’re hoping for a fan experience that makes people want to come back so they can really appreciate the exciting game of rugby, the physicality, how it’s fast-moving, and the fantastic form of entertainment,” said English. “I think you’ll have a unique fan experience, we have music and a fan fest around the game itself, but most importantly, I think as a rugby organization, we can provide Chicago with a winning team.

“We want to see a group of fans that are having a great and a team on the field that gets the ‘W'”

So how has the interest been so far?

“There’s a huge amount of excitement,” said English. “Hopefully that will carry on and we can keep that momentum through this first game and our next four games in March as well.”

Larry Hawley has more on the Hounds’ first home game at SeatGeek Stadium from WGN News Now in the video above.