What seemed like an inevitability move became a reality today. Beginning in 2024, all eight PLL Teams will be assigned to home cities. The league will continue its touring model with weekends hosted by home teams. Those home teams will play a doubleheader for that weekend. This is massive news for the PLL, and based on initial comments from the league, this always seemed like the eventual path that the league would take.
Since its inception, the PLL has operated in a tour-based model, which from a business sense, was a brilliant move. It allowed the league to potentially vet specific areas for a future geographic model while also allowing them flexibility with their scheduling. Having to book one large venue for a single weekend seemed much easier than having to book it 8-10 times throughout the course of the summer and combat the issues that come along with that. The environment created at each location was also something that really seemed to resonate with fans. The PLL has created an event so much more than just a lacrosse game. Every weekend has an NCAA Championship Weekend vibe to it, and their strategic partnerships have helped create a product both on and off the field that is viable for years to come.
The shift to city-based teams opens up the door for a wealth of opportunities. Teams will be able to start growing a local following through youth camps, local sponsorships, and other programming. It also allows the players themselves to set up a home base and continue to build their brands both locally and nationally.
An interesting caveat to all of this is the potential to see some brands re-emerge in the shift. With the MLL merger, The PLL absorbed the league and with it their franchises which opens the door for the potential return of teams like the Outlaws and Rattlers.
Here are some potential locations that we can see teams landing along with a guess as to which team may end up there.
Baltimore has a rich history of lacrosse and is often called the “Lacrosse Capital of the United States.” The city has a passionate lacrosse fan base, and it is home to Homewood Field, which has hosted multiple PLL events and was the first sell-out in league history. Baltimore already has an established lacrosse culture, making it an excellent choice for a team. Baltimore is almost a lock when it comes to PLL cities.
The return of the Outlaws? Denver is known for its strong lacrosse community and was a thriving market in the MLL. The city has a high participation rate in lacrosse at the youth and collegiate levels, and hosting a professional outdoor lacrosse team in Denver could capitalize on the existing interest. Denver is a phenomenal sports town and has proven to sustain an experienced outdoor squad.
New England Cannons
New England has a vibrant sports culture and a history of supporting professional sports teams. The area has a considerable lacrosse following, with several prominent collegiate lacrosse programs nearby, such as Boston College and Harvard University. New England’s sports-savvy audience could make it a favorable market for a professional outdoor lacrosse team. An exciting aspect of this is the ability to use multiple site locations such as Boston, MA, Fairfield, CT, and Hartford, CT.
New York Chrome
New York has a strong lacrosse tradition and has produced numerous elite players both Upstate and Downstate. The area boasts a high concentration of talented youth lacrosse players and competitive high school programs. New York is known for its fierce lacrosse rivalries and passionate lacrosse community. Another exciting aspect of this location is they can use multiple locations as host sites. Casey Stadium in Albany and Shuart Stadium at Hofstra have shown they can host and sustain a weekend event. If one place becomes the host city, the other can be a potential landing spot for a playoff weekend. You also cannot count our Red Bull Arena, which has been a host site for years prior. While it is in New Jersey, other New York professional teams have used the New York name and played across the river. Have you heard of the NY Giants and NY Jets?
Los Angeles Redwoods
The PLL has used LA as a stop in multiple seasons, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see this as a landing spot. There should be a West Coast team with the league offices being on the West Coast. With the emergence of lacrosse on the west coast and its growth at the youth level, Los Angeles makes sense for many reasons.
Another location that has been on the schedule for multiple seasons, Dallas has been an emerging market for lacrosse for the last decade, and the growth in Texas has been phenomenal. It has proven it can be a successful host site with a passionate fanbase that rallies around its professional sports franchises. Dallas makes a lot of sense with the need for a southern footprint.
A great location with two facilities that were built with lacrosse specifically in mind. The Ohio State Lacrosse Facility is a tour stop this summer and has already proven it can sell out multiple games with the Buckeyes, while Fortress Obetz was built for the Machine in the MLL days. Columbus is a great sports town that can really embrace their teams and if marketed correctly can be a huge market for the PLL.
The PLL has ventured across the border and used Ontario as a host site in seasons past, and based on the popularity of the sport with the Canadian people, this location makes complete sense. The Toronto Rock has become a staple in the professional sports community. With so many Canadian players doing so well in the field game, this would be an excellent location for a franchise.
PLL Cities Considered But Not On The List
from Lacrosse All Stars https://ift.tt/8aTtrCq