May 25, 2023
Premier Lacrosse League to Pick Team Home Cities in Late 2023
(Bloomberg) -- After touring games for four seasons, the Premier Lacrosse League will select the home cities for each of its teams at the end of this year, the next step in the competition’s rapid expansion.
Backed by investors including Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai, Chernin Group, and Raine Group, the PLL launched in 2018, and has already bought rival Major League Lacrosse and grown from six to eight teams.
“This is what we consider phase two which is our evolution of bringing professional lacrosse mainstream to casual sports fans who have otherwise not watched professional lacrosse,” said Paul Rabil, co-founder and president of the PLL in a phone interview.
Read More: Wall Street’s Lacrosse Fraternity Backs Rabil’s New League
During the league’s opening weekend, fans will have the opportunity to vote on team locations. Rabil said the league will select markets based on fan engagement, industry-leading analysis, preferred venues, partnership considerations and historical lacrosse ticket sales.
“When I look at established regions it’s the mid-Atlantic and the northeast. When we look at big growth regions it’s the Great Lakes, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest,” said Rabil. “When we look at the biggest states in our country that have the fastest growing lacrosse pro-sports interest it is Texas and California. Those are the ones that have been speaking to us,”
For its upcoming season, the PLL’s touring model will still be in effect but beginning in 2024, the home team will play a double-header when the league is in that team’s city. The league will continue to own and operate all of its eight teams.
The PLL closed a Series D funding round in July led by Chernin Group, with participation from Blue Pool Capital and Brett Jefferson Holdings. New investors in the round included the WWE, Kevin Durant’s investment vehicle 35V, Wheelhouse Entertainment and Pomp Investments.
“It’s a big step. Teams that are embraced by their communities can become a symbol of how to engage, support and believe in something together,” said Joe Tsai, owner of the Brooklyn Nets, San Diego Seals and Las Vegas Desert Dogs. Tsai is a PLL Board Member. “I’ve learned that every market interacts with their favorite team and players differently. We’re up for that challenge.”
The PLL’s schedule will remain the same with 14 game weekends that will begin in June and end in October. Locations for the league’s all-star game, playoffs and championship have not been determined. The PLL has an exclusive media rights deal with ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 AND ESPN+.
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