Gretzky, Johnson and Nash Join Tsai as NLL Las Vegas Owners

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The National Lacrosse League’s newest franchise packs some substantial star power in its ownership group.

The NLL officially announced that Las Vegas has been awarded the league’s 15th team and will begin play in the fall of 2022. The new franchise will be co-owned by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, pro golfer Dustin Johnson, Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash and billionaire Joe Tsai. Mark Fine will be the chief executive officer.

Gretzky and Nash notably played box lacrosse growing up in Canada before their storied careers in hockey and basketball, respectively. Gretzky grew up in Brantford, Ontario. His late father credited lacrosse for helping his son become the NHL’s all-time leading scorer. Nash, of British Columbia, rooted for the Victoria Shamrocks as a kid and was the team’s water boy. He later became a two-time NBA MVP.

Tsai, co-founder of Alibaba Group and a noted lacrosse investor and philanthropist, played lacrosse at Yale and owns the NLL’s San Diego Seals. He joins the Pegulas (Buffalo Bandits and Rochester Knighthawks) as the only multi-team owners in the NLL.

The ownership group issued a joint statement Monday.

“It is an honor and privilege to work together to bring the game of box lacrosse to the Las Vegas community,” the group said. “The people of Las Vegas have proven how passionate and supportive they are of professional sports franchises they can call their own. We look forward to making a difference here on the floor and in the community – and becoming a franchise that fans in Las Vegas will be truly proud to cheer for. Even though the team won’t start playing until late 2022, we want to involve the folks in Las Vegas from the very start as far as how we launch and grow our franchise, including in the selection of our team name. On the business side and across our franchise generally, we will also be forward-thinking and innovative, embracing best practices in analytics and technology across everything we do – and all while staying true to the fast-paced and exciting nature of both box lacrosse and the city of Las Vegas. We can't wait to get started.”

The Las Vegas team will play at MGM Resorts International’s Michelob ULTRA Arena – located inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino – beginning in the 2022-23 season. The arena is also home to the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces and has hosted high-profile events including various Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events, the Latin GRAMMYs, the NHL Awards, the Latin Billboard Awards, the International Swimming League’s World Finals, and the Miss USA pageant.

The official announcement of the new franchise will be later today at a launch event held at Michelob ULTRA Arena at 1PM PT. The announcement will also be live streamed on the team’s official website (accessible at www.lasvegaslacrosse.com).

The name, logo, and colors of the new Las Vegas team will be unveiled at a later date.







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