The Premier Lacrosse League announced that starting in 2024, all eight of its teams will be based in home cities.
"Moving our eight teams into home cities will mark the biggest investment in the league since its inception," said Paul Rabil, co-founder and president of the PLL. "This move will unlock deeper, more connected relationships between our fans, teams and players. Continuing to build a global presence around lacrosse and driving our mission forward will remain core to our approach. We're giving the PLL local love and global awareness."
The league will continue its touring model, with teams playing in one city over a two-day weekend. Beginning in 2024, the home team will play a double-header when the league is competing in that team's market.
"We are thrilled about this next evolution of the PLL," ESPN president of content Burke Magnus said. "We believe having teams in home markets will create a deeper connection with fans, enabling us to share more organic stories and add new features to the broadcast. It is a smart progression at the perfect time."
The schedule will continue to be 14 game weekends from June through September. Eight of the 10 regular-season game weekends will be held at home venues, with two regular-season weekends at neutral sites. The all-star game, playoffs and championship locations will be determined at a later date.
"When we looked at our growth over the last five years, matched by our goals, objectives and expansion, tying our teams to home cities was a natural next step for the business," PLL co-founder and CEO Mike Rabil said. "From our major media rights deal with ESPN, to the growing population of 45 million lacrosse fans across the U.S., the future of our sport is bright. Our teams' presence in home cities will fuel our league's future growth by tapping into the most universally understood driver of fan engagement."
The league will continue to own and operate all eight teams. The team locations will be announced in the fourth quarter of 2023. The league is evaluating a combination of cities, states and regions to assign to its eight teams.
"We feel excited and ready to give fans of the PLL home teams," said PLL board member Joe Tsai, who is co-founder of Alibaba, and owner of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, along with the NLL's San Diego Seals and Las Vegas Desert Dogs. "It's a big step. Teams that are embraced by their communities can become a symbol of how to engage, support and believe in something together. I've learned that every market interacts with their favorite team and players differently. We're up for that challenge."
Beginning June 3, fans will have the opportunity to vote on team locations at pllvote.com and through the PLL app. The league will select markets based on industry-leading analysis, preferred venues, partnership considerations, fan engagement, and historical pro lacrosse ticket sales data.
The 2023 PLL season begins June 3 and 4 in Albany, New York, with games to be aired live on ABC and ESPN+ each day.