The Premier Lacrosse League announced a merger with Major League Lacrosse earlier today. The merger was originally reported by Sportico’s Scott Soshnick and subsequently confirmed by the PLL on Twitter.
As part of the deal, the Premier Lacrosse League will expand to eight teams. The PLL absorbs the 2020 MLL Champion Boston Cannons and rebrands them as Cannons Lacrosse Club. An Expansion Draft is the proposed method to fill the Cannons roster. All MLL players enter the player pool and are eligible to be selected in the next PLL Draft. The Premier Lacrosse League also retains the rights to the other five MLL teams in case of future expansions.
Premier Lacrosse League Media Statement
The PLL released a full statement, available below:
The Premier Lacrosse League (“PLL”) and Major League Lacrosse (“MLL”) have merged with subsequent operations and activities to exist under the Premier Lacrosse League.
As part of the merger, the PLL will immediately expand to include the Boston Cannons as the PLL’s eighth team, under the rebranded name Cannons Lacrosse Club. The Cannons Lacrosse Club roster will be entirely selected through an expansion draft in 2021. Additionally, the PLL will retain the rights to all of the former MLL teams for future expansion considerations.
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.
PLL and MLL Commissioner Statements
MLL Commissioner, Sandy Brown, explained, “this merger only benefits the future of the game, for it combines the history of professional lacrosse with an innovated approach that has already accelerated the game’s growth. Further, the major market commercial opportunities are in 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.”
PLL co-founder and CMO, Paul Rabil, stated, “the PLL and MLL partnership is a massive step forward for professional lacrosse. Merging the two organizations and removing some of the challenges that athletes, sponsors and fans faced will undoubtedly advance the game forward. This one’s particularly nostalgic for me and a number of PLL players given that we began our careers and played in championship games with MLL prior to the PLL’s launch. Today and forever we share in that history and continue to build the future of pro lacrosse together.”PLL Media Statement, 12/16/2020
Whipsnakes Look to Defend Title
The merger puts to bed questions of how the two professional lacrosse leagues could coexist. This represents a major step forward in the growth of professional lacrosse.
Last season, the Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club took home the PLL title, their second in a row. They look to defend their title this summer. The PLL is available for viewing on NBC Sports.
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