On Tuesday, the National Lacrosse League filed a trademark for the “Fort Worth Panthers,” providing further evidence that the next NLL expansion franchise will be based in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.
The trademark is the first tangible piece of evidence that the NLL is considering placing a franchise in Texas. The nickname “Panthers,” while currently used by both an NFL and NHL franchise, is also appropriate considering the city of Fort Worth’s nickname is “Panther City.”
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has been discussed as a possible expansion location for the NLL for some time now, with it first being suggested by Lacrosse Classified’s Jake Elliott last summer. Other cities such as Las Vegas and Nashville have also been mentioned as popular potential locations for new NLL franchises.
In Pro Lacrosse Talk’s interview with NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz, he mentioned that the NLL was looking at seven different markets and had plans to add one expansion team each year for the next three years. While many markets have been rumored, Sakiewicz said that the league takes a variety of factors into consideration when choosing the right ownership group for a new franchise.
“We really look for commitment to the league and not just wealthy owners that have a lot of money, but wealthy owners that have money they are willing to invest over the long haul into the league,” Sakiewicz said. “What we’ve seen over the last four years is NLL franchise values go up 600%.”
When asked at which markets could be on the table, Sakiewicz remained vague but mentioned Edmonton, Winnipeg, Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Milwaukee, Detroit, Seattle, Portland and Phoenix as other locations that the league has discussed.
“We want to populate the central part of North America a little bit more,” Sakiewicz said. “We just want to be smart about how we layer in franchises across the geography of North America.”
Whether the newest NLL franchise will actually be the Fort Worth Panthers remains to be seen, but the recent trademark filing is certainly a good sign for Fort Worth fans hoping to see an NLL franchise come to their town.
Do you think that the 14th NLL franchise will be the Fort Worth Panthers? What are your thoughts on the Panthers nickname being chosen for a Fort Worth franchise?