Report: Premier Lacrosse League Planning for Shift to City-Based Model


The Premier Lacrosse Leagues looks to be on the precipice of making a big change.

Sportico reported Wednesday that the PLL is “beginning to shift to geographically affiliated teams.”

The plan is called “Project Next” and was discussed at length during a board meeting in Los Angeles last month. Sportico’s sources, which remained anonymous, said that each team could be assigned a specific affiliation — a city, state or region — that would take effect after the upcoming summer season.

According to the report, the PLL won’t end its tour-based model immediately. The eight markets could serve as summer tour stops, with each club being something of a host when the league does its usual barnstorming each weekend. It would allow, however, for teams to begin planting seeds in each market for potential growth in the future. More discussions on “Project Next” will happen at the next board meeting in July.

Before the league launched in the fall of 2018, PLL co-founder and president Paul Rabil told USA Lacrosse Magazine that while the touring model provided operational advantages, the long-term plan included anchoring teams in cities. That plan appears to be coming to fruition.

“We knew that with that density of fans that if we took the game around the country and grew it that way, we’d have a better chance,” Rabil said during a June 2021 appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

“I do think, in the future, we’ll be city-based,” he added later.

Also of note from the Sportico report: The PLL will review its team names and brands. As a result of the league’s 2020 merger with Major League Lacrosse, the PLL owns all the intellectual property of the former professional league. Could lacrosse see the return of the Outlaws, Bayhawks or Lizards? It’s certainly possible.

PLL representatives declined comment on the Sportico report.

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