MLL Says League Remains in Good Standing Despite PLL Launch

PHOTO BY JEROME MIRON/PRETTY INSTANT

Reigning league MVP Rob Pannell headlines a group of more than 120 players who have signed with MLL teams for 2019.


Major League Lacrosse issued a statement Tuesday morning assuring fans and stakeholders of the league’s financial health and espousing its 18-year history as evidence of its entrenchment in the lacrosse community.

The statement presumably comes in response to Monday’s widely followed launch of the Premier Lacrosse League, though the PLL is not named specifically.

MLL lauded its owners “whose combined assets are in excess of $9 billion,” emphasized the value of partnerships such as New Balance/Warrior and Coca Cola, praised the corporate pedigree of its senior leadership and underscored the progress the league has made in recent months by expanding the salary cap and active rosters, adjusting the season schedule and brokering a multi-year deal with ESPN that will bring Lax Sports Network’s MLL programming to ESPN+. This year’s all-star and championship games were televised live on ESPN networks.

And while the PLL produced an impressive list of 140 players competing in the league co-founded by former MLL star Paul Rabil, MLL countered that it has more than 120 players who have signed with the league’s nine franchises for the 2019 season — including reigning MLL MVP Rob Pannell (New York Lizard) and one of the sport’s most decorated players in Lyle Thompson (Chesapeake Bayhawks).

“MLL has been, and always will be, a proud member of the lacrosse community,” the league said in its statement. “As such, we cannot say that division of resources and fans are in its best interests. MLL has established a strong foundation for professional lacrosse, and it will continue to build on its accomplishments for many years to come.”







Here’s the statement in its entirety:

“For the last 18 years, Major League Lacrosse sought to become, and then established itself as the pinnacle of the sport. That mission has not changed. 

“Through the dedication and investment of our ownership group, whose combined assets are in excess of $9 billion, MLL has established footholds in nine lacrosse communities across the country. The Boston Cannons, the New York Lizards, the Chesapeake Bayhawks, the Charlotte Hounds, the Atlanta Blaze, the Florida Launch, the Ohio Machine, the Denver Outlaws, and the Dallas Rattlers have proven their dedication to serving their communities.

“We have been a steady and valuable partner to brands such as the Walt Disney Company, New Balance/Warrior, the Coca-Cola Company, Anheuser Busch, Nissan, JW Marriott, Cascade/Maverik and Chick-fil-A, to name a few. And MLL maintains senior leadership from within the league that hails from the likes of the NBA, NFL, MLB, the PGA Tour, Nielsen, ESPN, Fox, the Coca-Cola Company, Visa, etc.

“This year, under new leadership and with a vision for the future of our sport, MLL ownership unanimously approved a 51 percent increase in the league salary cap for our players, the addition of more players to the game day roster, an extended schedule that now runs from June through the month of September, a major leaguewide rebranding campaign, the creation of more league events, and the development of a robust digital content infrastructure for players, fans, and leaguewide partners. Equally as important, the league was party this year to a newly formed partnership with ESPN/ESPN+.

“Further, MLL will feature 2018 league MVP Rob Pannell, Lyle Thompson, Colin Heacock, Zach Currier, Max Adler, Liam Byrnes and the more than 120 other players who have signed with their respective teams for the 2019 season.

“For more than 18 years, MLL has been, and always will be, a proud member of the lacrosse community. As such, we cannot say that division of resources and fans are in its best interests. MLL has established a strong foundation for professional lacrosse, and it will continue to build on its accomplishments for many years to come.”

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