Jacksonville got another professional sports team Thursday when the North American Lacrosse League awarded the city its third of five inaugural franchises.
The indoor league will play at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, with games starting in mid-January.
In making the announcement, NALL commissioner Phil Evans said Jacksonville will join Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and Charlotte, N.C., in the newly formed league. Hershey, Pa., and Cincinnati are expected to be announced as the final two cities that will play 12 regular-season games and a pair of “friendly” exhibitions.
“In deciding where to locate our teams, we focused primarily on three factors: one, quality of the ownership group; two, quality of the market in terms of their support for professional sports entertainment; three, quality of the venue in which the team will play,” Evans said. “There will be lax in Jax.”
The new owners are Brett Vickers, president of Equity Sports, and St. Augustine’s Chris Milo.
“This was such a natural fit to bring this franchise here,” Vickers said. “This market, this city is going to embrace this game. This is going to be the No. 1 franchise in the North American Lacrosse League right out of the box.”
The league has mandated rosters be filled with American players. Vickers said the first coach will come from the First Coast area. Vickers said the mascot and schedule will be determined later.
Mayor Alvin Brown welcomed the team and promised bigger things to come.
“We’ve seen so many things come here: concerts, arena football, NCAA basketball, ABA basketball, all under one roof. Now we’re going to have lacrosse,” he said. “We are a sports city. I believe in order to take Jacksonville to the next level, this is one way to do it. I’m excited about the future of sports in our city.”
Learn more about the Jacksonville franchise by visiting JacksonvilleNALL.com.