SBD/September 12, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NLL Returning To Its Roots By Putting Expansion Franchise In Philadelphia

The NLL today announced Comcast-Spectactor will acquire an expansion franchise in Philadelphia. The league plans to release full details -- including the franchise name, when it will start playing and where it will play -- Thursday at a news conference with NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz and Comcast Spectacor President & CEO Dave Scott. Financial details of the expansion fee were not immediately available, but recent expansion fees have been in the low to mid seven figures. Both Comcast and the NLL are based in Philadelphia, so the move will give the league a team in its backyard, along with a new partnership with one of the country's leading media conglomerates. The NLL recently announced that Alibaba Exec Vice Chair Joe Tsai will be the owner of the league's 10th franchise in San Diego, making Philadelphia the 11th team (Adam Stern, Staff Writer). In Philadelphia, Marc Narducci notes the city has been a "major player in indoor lacrosse," as the Philadelphia Wings played for 28 seasons before moving to Mohegan Sun Arena in '14 and becoming the New England Black Wolves. The NLL has "publicly stated in the past its desire to have a team in Philadelphia." Additionally, Sakiewicz previously served as MLS Union CEO from '08-15 and is "very familiar" with the market (PHILLY.com, 9/12).

ADDING MORE CONTENT: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Scott Soshnick notes the new NLL team will give Comcast "another sport to stream via its new paid streaming service, NBC Sports Gold." The outlet is "designed for fans of niche sports." Comcast and NBC Universal are "trying to adapt to a fast-changing media landscape where more consumers watch TV over the internet and sporting events are one of the few types of programming that people still watch live." Meanwhile, Comcast is an "attractive owner for the NLL, which describes its media strategy as digital-first" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 9/12). 
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