Stick Talk: Which Lacrosse League Will Lead Sport Into Its Future?
Professional lacrosse is "facing an existential crossroads" as the MLL and nascent Premier Lacrosse League "prepare for their first season of coexistence" beginning next month, according to Jacob Bogage of the WASHINGTON POST. Lacrosse insiders are "convinced the two cannot survive long-term side by side." Paul Rabil left MLL in September to form the PLL, and by "promising bigger salaries and a better media rights deal, he recruited a vast contingent of the old league's stars." Players say that they are "tired of waiting for a league to figure out how to distribute its product and tired of asking MLL franchise owners to put money behind branding their players as athletic celebrities worthy of sponsorships and acclaim." The MLL is "still backed by establishment figures confident that a rebranding effort, new leadership and franchise owners' willingness to invest can sustain a strong, centralized league." They have "preached patience in their 19-year-old league and asked the lacrosse community for trust as they attempt a reset." Earlier this year, the MLL "reacquired its media rights and shut down three of nine teams" for the '19 season. When Rabil announced the PLL's first rosters, the "vast majority of the 160 players came from MLL, including 11 of the league's top 12 goal scorers from last year" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/28).