Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any crazier, the Premier Lacrosse League announced through an article on Sportico on Wednesday morning that it is merging with Major League Lacrosse. According to Pro Lacrosse Talk’s sources, players were emailed this morning informing them of the merger between the two leagues.
The move unifies professional outdoor lacrosse into one single league that will be named the Premier Lacrosse League and continue to be backed by billionaire Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai, The Raine Group and Creative Artists Agency.
“Over the past two years the PLL has punched through expectations and garnered commercial viability that the sport has never seen,” Paul Rabil told Sportico. “Today, as the PLL embarks on season three, we do so armed with 20 years of MLL history.”
The financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. As part of the deal between the leagues, the MLL’s Boston Cannons will join the PLL as the league’s eighth club and will be rebranded as Cannons Lacrosse Club. The Cannons roster will be determined through an expansion draft held next year. As part of the deal, the PLL acquired the rights to the MLL’s other five teams with the potential for future expansion considerations.
“Our vision has always been to unify the sport,” Michael Rabil told Sportico. “We know this will bring a better commercial opportunity for the sport, for the league and for the players, and will bring more excitement on the field for the fans.”
The PLL and MLL have created an internal team that will oversee the success of the transition, including: front office, team and player orientation; the 2021 season schedule, which will include former MLL team markets; and a long-term plan to develop youth lacrosse players in historical MLL communities.
In the coming months, details will be announced regarding the 2021 expansion draft, as well as more information on how transitioning MLL players may enter the PLL Player Pool.
MLL Commissioner, Sandy Brown, explained, “this merger only benefits the future of the game, for it combines the history of professional lacrosse with an innovative approach that has already accelerated the game’s growth. Further, the major market commercial opportunities are at their infancy. The runway for a combined effort is robust.”
PLL co-founder and CEO, Mike Rabil, responded saying, “the unification of PLL and MLL puts the game first by providing our athletes and fans a single destination for the best lacrosse in the world, across every medium, coming this Summer 2021 on NBC Sports. I can’t think of anything better and more exciting for the sport.”
This is a developing story so check back on Pro Lacrosse Talk for more updates on the PLL-MLL merger.