MLL To Use All-Star Game As Test For Possible Expansion To South Florida
Major League Lacrosse on Saturday "tests the waters for a future expansion franchise with its 2012 All-Star Game," according to Matt Kinnear of INSIDE LACROSSE. MLL Commissioner Dave Gross has "made intentions clear about expansion, openly discussing that Boca Raton, Fla. ... is on the short list of locations as the league eyes its expansion goal of 16 teams." The MLL All-Star Game will be "the first professional event in Florida Atlantic University's stadium." The league has a "history of showcasing events in potential markets." The Denver Outlaws have been a "huge success story since hosting the All-Star Game in 2005, the year before the team's inaugural season." Gross said, "We really find that test marketing is the way to get the best feel for when we go to the market." Charlotte Hounds MF Stephen Berger said, "I think the fans in Florida will really get a taste of what the MLL is about. The All-Star Game is a little special. The MLL is doing it right by finding some of these markets that are non-traditional areas" (INSIDELACROSSE.com, 6/28). In West Palm Beach, Matt Porter noted Gross is "optimistic about Palm Beach County because youth and high school teams are flourishing here and because FAU's 30,000-seat stadium could be an ideal home." Gross is "hoping for at least 5,000" fans (PALM BEACH POST, 6/27).
GROWING THE GAME: LACROSSE MAGAZINE's Corey McLaughlin noted while their "records may not reflect success -- the Ohio Machine is 1-6 and the Charlotte Hounds are 2-6 -- Gross said he's pleased with the first seasons of the league's pair of expansion franchises." League statistics show that the Hounds rank "third in average attendance (5,788), trailing only" the Boston Cannons and Chesapeake Bayhawks. The Machine "ranks sixth (3,656)." Gross said, "Expansion has gone very well. I'm sure both Charlotte and Ohio wish they had a better win-loss record, but the fan support that they've received in both markets has been very good and we expect that to continue to build." He added, "We're not going to have expansion in 2013. The earliest at this point will be '14." McLaughlin noted if there "will be expansion in 2014, it will be announced in January" (LAXMAGAZINE.com, 6/27).