Charlie Matusek ’20
In September of 2018, Paul Rabil, a famous lacrosse player, created a new professional lacrosse league known as the Premier Lacrosse League that will have six teams with 26 players per team. They will play through 14 weeks, including 10 games, one all star week, and three weeks of playoffs. Instead of having home fields, the teams will travel to play in big market cities such as Boston, New York, San Jose, Denver, Chicago, Baltimore, DC and more.
There are about 150 players in the league, with majority of them coming from the struggling Major League Lacrosse (MLL). The MLL was founded in 2001 with six teams and eventually grew to 10 teams but then went back down to six in 2009. The league installed teams in 2016 but had to cut three teams due to players signing with the PLL. The players in the MLL made less than 15,000 dollars and viewed this league as a joke with only having practices once a week before game days. The MLL was televised on a small networking station, Lax Sports Net, that had very few viewers.
Rabil created this league for lacrosse to become a bigger sport and to become a full- time job for its players after frustration with the MLL. Rabil had approached the MLL to give input on investment ideas to make the league better but they didn’t listen. Players in the PLL not only receive pay almost four times greater than the MLL, but they also receive health care benefits. In addition, the league has a national broadcast deal with the NBC Sports Group.
The new league undoubtedly will be more enjoyable than the MLL. Innovated rules such as a 52 second shot clock and 15 yard two point arc help make the game faster and more enjoyable. The PLL traveling around the country to big market cities will improve the growth of lacrosse.
These cities are not traditional lacrosse cities. And viewers who watch NBC may not have lacrosse experience or background. The PLL is a chance to introduce the sport of lacrosse to Americans across the country. It has taken soccer nearly four decades to become a so- called “major sport” in the United States. Now it is lacrosse’s turn to really begin that process, and the PLL, under Rabil’s leadership is a great start.