PLL Happy With First Season, Ready To Continue Building In '20
The Premier Lacrosse League concluded its first season last weekend, and league CEO Mike Rabil said he considers the inaugural year "successful from a key performance indicators perspective," according to Mike Dougherty of the Westchester JOURNAL NEWS. Rabil said, "We judge success as any other company does." He pointed to revenue from ticket sales, sponsorship, media sales and the PLL Academy, saying, "We make sure we're on projections and look at how we can improve those each year." PLL players "gave the league an overwhelming thumbs up." Redwoods MF JoJo Marasco called the PLL a "way happier place" than MLL. He said, "The flights are better. The hotels are better. Everything is more professional." Attendance was the "one issue" in the first season, as "empty seats were noticeable" most weekends. Fans at Red Bull Arena for the playoffs were "seated almost strategically across from NBC cameras." Rabil "insists the PLL is not overly concerned with its first-season ticket sales and noted the league chose to be in MLS venues knowing there would be empty seats." Rabil and his brother Paul were "convinced that comfortable seats, accessible concessions, jumbo video boards and state-of-the-art locker rooms would improve the experience for all involved." Rabil indicated that PLL investors are "not looking for a quick turnaround." He said, "We've been up front since the beginning saying this is a long-term investment" (Westchester JOURNAL NEWS, 9/25).
INTO THE FUTURE: SI.com's Emily Caron noted despite the Rabils' "perpetual positivity and optimistic soundbites, both brothers understand the realities of running a business." Startups are "bound to struggle as they get off the ground, but the bumps on the road this season ... certainly haven't sidelined any of the PLL's plans for the future." Paul Rabil is "already talking and thinking about expansion and how to improve." In working with broadcast partner NBC, Rabil in '20 "wants to target getting more evening and night network game time slots so the PLL can increase viewership." The PLL wants "fully integrated partnerships with youth lacrosse tournaments and leagues." The league also "wants to change its ticketing strategy, add even more talent to teams -- all as they consider already expanding, ahead of schedule" (SI.com, 9/21).