The National Lacrosse League is headed to the Lone Star State. After many rumors were circling that the NLL would be adding its 14th franchise, the league announced that a team has been awarded to Fort Worth, Texas.
Bill Cameron will be the majority owner while Greg Bibb will serve as Managing Partner of the yet-to-be-named team. Cameron is CEO and Chairman of the Board of Cameron Enterprises, partial owner and board member of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, and lead owner and chairman of the Dallas Wings of the WNBA, while Bibb is Chief Executive Officer and Partner of the WNBA’s Dallas Wings.
“We welcome Fort Worth as our 14th team and are excited to be working with a first-class organization led by Bill Cameron, Greg Bibb and the leadership at Dickies Arena, one of the premier state-of-the art facilities in the United States,” NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said. “Greg’s accomplishments with the WNBA’s Dallas Wings, one of the greatest business success stories in professional sports in North America, and a Fort Worth fan base who craves what we provide — fun-filled nonstop action — will make this franchise a must see and must follow, not only for fans in the area around Fort Worth, but for the global sports business community, and all those with a passion for lacrosse.”
Rumors that the Dallas-Fort Worth area would receive a franchise were first started when NLL analyst Jake Elliot revealed that it was a market the league was looking at last summer. Last December, Commissioner Sakiewicz spoke to Pro Lacrosse Talk about his thoughts on future expansion and hope to add three new franchises over the next three years. Rumors were further fueled when a trademark for the “Fort Worth Panthers” was filed by the league.
“All the pieces we look for in a new partner are in place,” Commissioner Sakiewicz said in the league’s statement. “We have already begun assisting with the ramp up to the opener 18 months from now.”
“As we look to expand our sports business portfolio the National Lacrosse League, and the model Nick and his team have created in the past few years, is a perfect fit,” Bibb said. “We wanted a growing sport that is on the rise and that fans can engage with, not just at the arena but at the grassroots level, and one that understands the value of the digital native fans and how brands can engage in these fluid times. The NLL checked all those boxes, and we can’t wait to bring this new franchise to the fans in greater Fort Worth.”
The Fort Worth team will begin play at the new Dickies Arena in Fort Worth in the 2021-22 season. It is the first time the NLL has expanded into the State of Texas in its 34-year history. The 14,000-seat arena opened its doors in November of 2019, which is managed by Trail Drive Management Corp. (TDMC), a 501C-3 not-for-profit, and is home to the Fort Worth Stock Show rodeo performances.
“Dickies Arena is excited to add the NLL to its event list,” TDMC’s Matt Homan, President and General Manager of Dickies Arena, said. “We believe there is a solid ownership team along with the strength of the NLL. We are looking forward to working with Bill and Greg’s team locally to make sure that the Fort Worth community has a long term franchise.”
“Fort Worth is a world-class sports destination and we are excited to welcome the National Lacrosse League franchise to our community and our spectacular new Dickies Arena,” added Jason Sands, Director, Fort Worth Sports Commission.
The league stated that the Fort Worth team name, logo, and colors will be announced later this year, but fans may already have an idea of what the team could be called. In addition to the name “Panthers” filed in February, fans discovered the trademarks “Fort Worth Herd” and “Forth Worth Stampede” had been filed as well.
What do you think of the news that the NLL is headed to Fort Worth, Texas? What do you think the 14th NLL franchise should be called?