Person 2 Person: Dean Howes

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Person 2 Person: Dean Howes

(KUTV) Dean Howes is the commissioner of Major League Rugby, headquartered here in Utah.

He was also instrumental in building Real Salt Lake in Utah, and served as its CEO.

"Utah is a great sports community, and it's a great rugby community," Howes said.

Howes worked for two years to get the league off the ground, and the first season launched this past April.

"I'd give all of u an 'A' in a lot of ways, and I'd give us a 'C' in a few ways," Howes said. "This is a heavy lift. This is not easy. You don't start a major league in the United States without having to put a lot of things in a row."

With the formation of the league, Utah has its own professional team, the Utah Warriors.

"The Utah team is predominately from here," Howes said of its players.

Many of the players in the league come from local rugby clubs, but there are some international players, too.

Howes wasn't scared of taking on the challenge of forming Major League Rugby.

"I respect the challenge. I believed that the model was out there. I believed that the sport has the capacity to do what we want it and need it to do," he said.

And Howes knew he could build the sport in Utah, because he already had some experience as CEO of Real Salt Lake.

"My belief was both in the sport and its ability to impact Utah," he said.

Real Salt Lake and the Utah Jazz are both beloved teams, and he hopes the Warriors will join their ranks.

"These brands really have a tremendous amount of power to influence, I believe, for good," he said.

Howes encourages everyone to come and see a Warriors game for its constant action and the "intimate nature of the fan to the player."

"You can see them, you can watch them, you can watch their effort, and watch the impact that the sport has on them," he said. "I think that this a big reason we're sports fans."

Howes believes the fan's connection to a team is important.

"The fan really does own a team and controls those players, because it's their participation that turns the lights on, makes everything happen," he said.

Howes wants Utahns to know that this new rugby organization is "major league in every way."

"Certainly we have a ways to go, but everything we strive to do on the sports and entertainment side is major league," he said. "This is the highest degree of rugby that they can watch in the United States."

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