Premier Lacrosse League sets Portland stop
The Premier Lacrosse League, a second-year professional men's lacrosse league, will make a stop in Portland this August.
The league's seven teams will compete at Providence Park, with doubleheaders scheduled for Aug. 1 and 2.
Tickets are expected to go on sale in late March or early April and will range from about $20 to $50, with discounts for groups of 10 or more.
The PLL was founded by Paul Rabil, one of the faces of professional lacrosse, and his brother Mike Rabil.
Modeled after tour-based professional sports such as NASCAR, tennis and golf, the PLL teams are not affiliated with cities. The Portland stop is one of 15 on the 2020 schedule, which is slated to begin May 29 in Boston and end with the championship match in mid-September.
Paul Rabil was perhaps the best-known player in Major League Lacrosse. Frustrated with the lack of marketing for that league and with low salaries in the MLL, he formed the Premier Lacrosse League last year with the goal of building a league that could pay players well enough to make lacrosse their full-time job.
His upstart league offered better pay and health benefits, and many players switched from the MLL to the PLL last season. Rabil's league landed key sponsors in Adidas, Gatorade and Capital One Bank and a media rights agreement with NBC Sports.
About half the 2020 games will be shown by NBC Sports Network, with the rest on NBC Sports Gold, a paid streaming service.
Rabil said his vision in starting the PLL was to build a league that was better marketed than the MLL.
"We created a better experience for players," Rabil said.
He said the tour-based model also is better for lacrosse fans.
"The tour-based model gives us a better chance to reach more fans and potential fans than only having teams in six markets," Rabil said.
Major League Lacrosse was founded in 1999 and has six teams, which are located in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Annapolis, Maryland, Fairfield, Connecticut and Denver.
In 2019, the PLL's first season, only three of its 14 events were in the western United States, with league weekends in Denver and San Jose and the all-star game in Los Angeles.
Average two-day attendance for the Premier Lacrosse League's first season was more than 12,300 fans, or about 6,150 per each game of a doubleheader. The championship game at Chester, Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia drew 12,556.
Rabil said the Portland stop will be the league's first in the Pacific Northwest, a region that has seen growth in youth and high school lacrosse.
"Even last year we were thinking about how to bring the games to Portland, Seattle or Vancouver (British Columbia), which from a density standpoint and interest and participation in lacrosse is huge," Rabil said.
Other games in the 12-week, 2020 season are set for Foxborough, Massachusetts; Kennesaw, Georgia; Stony Brook, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Frisco, Texas; Eagan, Minnesota; Cary, North Carolina; Albany, New York; Sandy, Utah; and Denver.
Each of the seven teams in the PLL has a 26-player roster.
In college, Rabil helped Johns Hopkins to two national championships and was three times named to the All-American first team. The first pick in the 2008 MLL draft, Rabil played for two National Lacrosse League clubs over 10 seasons before founding the PLL.
Rabil plays midfield for Atlas Lacrosse Club. The other clubs in the league are defending champion Whipsnakes, Archers, Chaos, Chrome, Redwoods and the expansion Waterdogs Lacrosse Club.
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