The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) Coming Summer 2019

Photo Credit: Josh Rottman

Logo Property of the Premier Lacrosse League

John Zumbado, PLL Columnist
Lacrosse is Awesome

The winds of change in professional lacrosse are again swirling.  The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) co-founded by lacrosse superstar Paul Rabil announced the formation of the PLL for a six team, 14-week, plus All-Star game and playoffs, as a tour-based league with the idea of providing a “Final Four” type experience at each host city.

The touring model that the PLL will implement begins its first season June 2019 and runs through September.  The announcement made Monday October 22, 2018, follows weeks of rumors and speculation within lacrosse circles.

The growth of the game, a 35 percent increase at the youth level since 2012 is one of several points Rabil is emphasizing during the initial weeks since the announcement.  Another focus is to make the key assets of the league, the players, full time athletes with full time pay, and benefits.  Something that Major League Lacrosse has yet to offer.

As many companies on the Fortune 100 know, a keen focus on employee success is the foundation of building an amazing workplace.  The result for these companies who demonstrate high employee satisfaction, they regularly deliver strong business performance year after year.

The PLL by endorsing and emphasizing a focus of its players to use social media to support a nearly continuous fan interaction level is unheard of within most professional sports leagues.  This constant league promotion through use of social media by players to fans, who generationally, are already plugged-in to digital communication outlets, is both insightful and ingenious.

The formation of the PLL is the brainchild of Paul and his brother Mike Rabil, and is armed with significant backing by Wall Street investment groups The Rain Group; Creative Artist Agency (CAA); The Chernin Group; and Blum Capital.   Unlike other upstart sports leagues of the past, the PLL has already inked a broadcast deal with NBC Sports Group who will broadcast two games a week, with the remaining games aired over NBC Sports Gold, a top-tier subscription service provider.

For Rabil the focus of the league is on the players, those players being the best in the world, and being paid full time to play lacrosse.  Of the roughly 120 players committed to the PLL there are 86 All-Americans, 25 Team USA members, 10 Tewaaraton Award Winners and nine Pro MVPs.

Photo Credit: Di Miller 2018 World Lacrosse Championship 7/21/18

On the contrary the MLL, which was formed in 2001, continues to treat many of its players as part time players.  Most players have other full-time jobs they work Monday through Friday and moonlight as lacrosse players on weekends and an occasional Thursday night during the summer months.

As with any upstart business a disruption of the status quo is both an advantage and a disadvantage.  The growth of lacrosse over the past five years on a participatory level by young fans that are traditionally from medium to high income families is a great first step.  Having proper financial support backing; a large pool of successful and motivated players; a focus by the league to put lacrosse games in nontraditional, but growing markets around the country; and an emphasized use of social media to further promote the league, what could go wrong?

It’s not traditional, but neither is lacrosse, especially at the professional level.  Nothing new that turns successful ever starts out that way.  But having a good foundation and a good game plan is a great start.

Find more about the Premier Lacrosse League here: https://www.premierlacrosseleague.com/

John Zumbado, PLL Columnist
Lacrosse is Awesome

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