Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 12/16/20 – From Press Release
The Premier Lacrosse League (“PLL”) and Major League Lacrosse (“MLL”) have merged with subsequent season operations and activities to formally exist under the Premier Lacrosse League.
As part of the merger, the PLL will immediately expand to include the Boston Cannons as the PLL’s eighth team, under the rebranded name Cannons Lacrosse Club. The Cannons Lacrosse Club roster will be entirely selected through an Expansion Draft in 2021. Additionally, the PLL will retain the rights to all of the former MLL teams for future expansion considerations.
The merger means the Philadelphia Barrage will not return to Philly to play. An MLL franchise played in Philly as the Barrage from 2004-08 and won three MLL championships, but last year the restart of the Barrage only played 5 games in a week-long season in Maryland.
The new Barrage featured assistant coach and Philly legend Brian Dougherty, the former Barrage standout goalie.
Additionally, the PLL will retain the rights to the MLL’s other five teams for future expansion considerations. The PLL currently does not have teams housed in cities as traditional franchises.
The PLL and MLL have created an internal team that will oversee the success of the transition, including: front office, team and player orientation; the 2021 season schedule, which will include former MLL team markets; and a long-term plan to develop youth lacrosse players in historical MLL communities.
In the coming months, details will be announced regarding the 2021 Expansion Draft, as well as more information on how transitioning MLL players may enter the PLL Player Pool.
MLL Commissioner, Sandy Brown, explained, “this merger only benefits the future of the game, for it combines the history of professional lacrosse with an innovative approach that has already accelerated the game’s growth. Further, the major market commercial opportunities are at their infancy. The runway for a combined effort is robust.”
PLL co-founder and CEO, Mike Rabil, responded saying, “the unification of PLL and MLL puts the game first by providing our athletes and fans a single destination for the best lacrosse in the world, across every medium, coming this Summer 2021 on NBC Sports. I can’t think of anything better and more exciting for the sport.”
PLL co-founder and CMO, Paul Rabil, stated, “the PLL and MLL partnership is a massive step forward for professional lacrosse. Merging the two organizations and removing some of the challenges that athletes, sponsors and fans faced will undoubtedly advance the game forward. This one’s particularly nostalgic for me and a number of PLL players given that we began our careers and played in championship games with MLL prior to the PLL’s launch. Today and forever we share in that history and continue to build the future of pro lacrosse together.”
The Premier Lacrosse League is a men’s professional lacrosse league in North America, composed of 7 teams rostered with the best players in the world. Co-founded by lacrosse superstar and investor, Paul Rabil, and his brother, serial entrepreneur and investor, Mike Rabil, the Premier Lacrosse League is backed by an investment group composed of Joe Tsai Sports, Brett Jefferson Holdings, The Raine Group, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and other top investors in sports and media. The PLL was named Sports Breakthrough of the Year in 2020 by the Sports Business Journal and is distributed through an exclusive media-rights agreement with NBC Sports Group.