NLL Cancels First Two Weeks Of '19 Season Over CBA Dispute
The NLL has canceled the first two weeks of the ’18-19 season due to a lockout. The NLL has been negotiating with the Professional Lacrosse Players Association to try to agree on a new CBA, but the sides have been far apart, leading to the NLL's move. The league on Thursday issued a statement that read, "After a thorough review of the PLPA’s counterproposal, it is clear we cannot accept the terms the PLPA has put forward, and therefore, have made a decision to reject it. We believe those terms would have both short and long term negative consequences on our member clubs and the League which we are not willing to accept. Therefore, there is not yet an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.” The season was set to start Dec. 1 and continue Dec. 8, but games on those days have been canceled (Adam Stern, THE DAILY). In San Diego, Jeff Sanders notes the PLPA "worked to add sponsorship, concessions, parking and merchandise sales to players' pay." The NLL had offered a 25% "increase in salary and benefits for players in a stop-gap proposal." According to a league statement, the proposal also included "a fair calculation of bonuses to be paid to the players based on attendance growth plus a percentage increase each year to account for growth in all those attendance-related revenue streams." The deadline to "accept that deal and still start the season on time was Wednesday." The NLL had "never previously canceled games due to a labor dispute" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/16).
STALLING MOMENTUM: In Buffalo, Erica Brecher noted Bandits fans "worry a potential lockout could hurt lacrosse's momentum." The Bandits are "unique with a larger following than other NLL teams," but the labor dispute "could hurt other teams more." It is "unclear what happens for season ticket holders" in the wake of the work stoppage. The Bandits said that they are "communicating with fans but nothing has been decided yet" (WIVB.com, 11/15). US LACROSSE MAGAZINE's Matt DaSilva noted the labor impasse "has stalled momentum" for the league, which is "set to unveil new franchises in San Diego and Philadelphia this year." Additionally, the Knighthawks are "relocating to Halifax next year and two new expansion teams" are expected in Rochester and Long Island (USLAXMAGAZINE.com, 11/15).
BANNER DISAPPOINTMENT: In Saskatoon, Deibert & Mitchell report the lockout will force the Saskatchewan Rush to wait "for at least an extra four weeks" before raising its '18 championship banner. Rush Dir of Business Development & Media Relations Brandon Urban said, "In terms of the cancellation of our Dec. 8 banner-raising home opener ... it's crappy." He added, "That pretty much sums it up, to be honest with you. It’s very unfortunate, and not an ideal situation for us. We’ve been marketing and promoting and pushing our pre-season game and home opener for the last few months now, and it certainly hasn’t unfolded the way we were hoping and the way we anticipated.” The team's home opener now is tentatively set for Jan. 5 (Saskatoon STARPHOENIX, 11/16).