MLL Launch Look To Buck Trend Of Second-Tier Sports' Struggles In South Florida
The MLL Florida Launch are "expected to play" their seven home games at Florida Atlantic Univ.'s football stadium, and if the team "succeeds, it'll be a rarity in a market that has given the cold shoulder to minor-league teams and second-tier sports," according to Jeff Ostrowski of the PALM BEACH POST. The AFL's Florida Bobcats and the Continental Basketball Association's Florida Beachdogs "fizzled after a few seasons in West Palm Beach" in the '90s. More recently, Women's Professional Soccer club magicJack "lasted just one season in Boca." Not even MLS "could succeed in South Florida, as evidenced by the brief tenure of the Miami Fusion, which played in Fort Lauderdale." But MLL Commissioner Dave Gross argued that the league is different from the others that did not last in the market "because it's the top organization in its sport." The Launch previously played three seasons as the Hamilton Nationals, and the team "averaged fewer than 2,000 fans a game" in Ontario. Meager turnouts "seem likely in South Florida, too." The market sees teams such as the Marlins, the Panthers and Univ. of Miami football "struggling to sell tickets." If the Launch "properly woos fans before its first game April 26, Major League Lacrosse might change South Florida's reputation as a place where minor-league teams go to die" (PALM BEACH POST, 11/26).