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Friday, January 21, 2011

It's Official - MLL Adds Two!

Just over a month ago we found out that Major League Lacrosse planned to add two more teams beginning next season (2012). The league sent a broadcast announcement email within the last hour confirming that the expansion cities have been chosen:
Major League Lacrosse To Expand in 2012
Two New Teams To Be Added
BOSTON, MA - January 21, 2011 - Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, today announced that two new teams will be added to the league in the 2012 season. The two new teams will be located in Charlotte, North Carolina and Columbus, Ohio.

In addition, MLL Commissioner David Gross announced that beginning in 2012 each of the league's teams will be playing a 14 game schedule, an increase from the current 12 game schedule.

More details will be coming soon.
Columbus has been a target of the league for a while. Various events have been held at Crew Stadium throughout the league's history. The Machine played a "home" game there last year to further test the market. Although nothing has been said of the owners or venue, Crew Stadium seems to be the logical place meaning the owners are somehow connected to Hunt Sports Group, if not HSG themselves. HSG was a founding partner of Major League Soccer. In addition to the Crew and Crew Stadium, HSG owns FC Dallas and the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL).
Charlotte was a no-brainer as well. With lax consistently gaining popularity in North Carolina, plopping a pro franchise in the state just makes sense. NC has two major population areas - Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham. With two NCAA DI powerhouse programs already in RD (North Carolina and Duke), Charlotte seems more hungry for top level lacrosse. The availability of pro players may help bridge the gap in quality between the Queen City and the Research Triangle. You may recall that I previously mentioned Charlotte as an ideal expansion location.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

National Lacrosse League Returns to National TV!

Because we can never have enough Box Lacrosse! Or Lax on TV for that matter!

Earlier today the National Lacrosse League announced a deal with Versus to air nine games this season. Coverage will begin with the All Star Game on February 27 at 1:00 pm (our time).
Versus is owned by Comcast, who purchased controlling interest in NBC Universal yesterday. This acquisition increases Comcast's market presence. Early speculation revolves around Comcast using NBC Universal Sports, Gold Channel, etc. to supplement Versus as the company builds a credible rival to ESPN (owned by Disney). The NHL is currently the foundation for Versus sports programming and Comcast now has exclusive rights for all nationally televised NHL games.
I am hoping that Versus has the foresight to capitalize on lax's growing popularity to strengthen the network. One would think that lax on Versus would outdraw poker and bowling on ESPN...

The 2011 NLL All Star Game will be held at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York and presented by the Oneida Indian Nation.
"We are gratified to be hosting the National Lacrosse League on our Oneida Nation Homelands," said Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and CEO of Nation Enterprises. "It's a great opportunity to showcase the modern version of the Creator's game, while reminding everyone of the sport's significant origins."

You read that correctly: rather than being held in an arena already occupied by a current NLL team, the game is being held in its birthplace. I, for one, believe this is an amazing move that shows the uniqueness of lacrosse among all other sports. This move signifies respect for the game itself and its creators.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Random Valley Update

The Valley High School Lacrosse Club has started indoor practices.
The Tigers' season begins in two months.
All home games will be played at Valley Stadium this year - admission will still be free!
The season will open with a tournament featuring teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin on March 26 & 27!

Tribe 7