PLL touts itself as one-stop shop for brands
The Premier Lacrosse League’s single-entity structure is resulting in early success in selling sponsorships because it’s turned the proposition into something of a one-stop shop for brands, according to league co-founder Paul Rabil.
The PLL starts its inaugural season in June and just rolled out its first major sponsorship deal last week with Adidas, which is now the league’s official apparel provider.
Rabil, who in addition to playing in the new league serves as chief strategy officer, said the league is positioned as an alternative for brands that are frustrated by the complexities of dealing with other stick-and-ball leagues that might have category conflicts or require multiple deals to cover the leagues, teams and venues.
The PLL has brought in about half a dozen endemic partners as well as some nonendemic partners and intends to announce them in the coming months. For its sponsorship deals, the PLL is packaging in league, team and player IP; ad inventory with media partner NBC Sports and the league’s owned channels; experiential event marketing space; and data sharing.
Rabil — who has worked as an endorser over his career for brands including New Balance, Chevrolet and Red Bull — says he’s bringing the same approach to the league that he did in his endorsement work.
“That’s why influencers have been so attractive to brands of late — they’re one-stop shops that create for the brand,” said Rabil. “[For example], we have this 13-person in-house team doing creative and producing content for our brand partners, which makes the investment more advantageous.”
The inaugural event for the six-team league will be held June 1-2 at Gillette Stadium. The league, which will be competing for market share with Major League Lacrosse and the National Lacrosse League, is using a tour-based model like NASCAR or the UFC.
The PLL is working with Adidas on new jerseys and could eventually include patch sponsorships like what the NBA has incorporated in recent seasons. Rabil said the league is asking for six figures annually for jersey patch sponsorships per team, while it is asking low seven figures annually for its larger partnerships.
The PLL has a five-person team working on business development. The league also has developed relationships with some agencies — for example, CAA is an investor in the league — and will take deals that those shops bring to it.
As part of the Adidas deal, the PLL said the apparel maker will make a significant investment into the league, as will media partner NBC Sports. Adidas will provide the league’s jerseys, footwear and sideline apparel; buy ad inventory with NBC; participate in the league’s content and community efforts; and activate the partnership on site at the PLL’s games and some of Adidas’ own flagship stores. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.