Paul Rabil Starting New Pro League, Premier Lacrosse League

Photo Courtesy of Inside Lacrosse

There have been rumblings here and there since May but nobody had leaked or said anything. Well, we finally have a report that there indeed will be a new league to rival the MLL and it involves some of the best players in the world, including Paul Rabil.

Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported on Tuesday morning that Rabil has teamed up a number of sports and media investor led by the Raine Group to create this new league, the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL).

The PLL will be a six team league and will start play next summer and they are currently still putting together contracts with players, media partners, and venues. According to the Bloomberg article the league has secured a number of name brand players from the MLL, including those that played for the USA and Canada in the World Championships this past July.

According to the Bloomberg report the players will be full-time, get health benefits, and get equity to take stake in the league. Also, it is reported that the PLL won't have a spending limit.

The league is set to have a regular season, playoffs, an all-star game. A twist is the the PLL won't have franchises that are tied to one city. It will be much the like the LXM Pro Tour was but will basically be LXM Pro on steroids. They will play games on Saturday and Sunday as they travel from city to city.

As of right now there is what is known as the "proverlap" where the MLL and NLL seasons overlap. With the PLL there will be none of this overlap nonsense as the league will run from June through September.

The next step looks to be getting some kind of word from Rabil or anyone else involved as nobody had an real knowledge of a new league until today. We did hear rumbles back in May, but those died down pretty fast since they kept it under wraps for this long.

Personal Thoughts

Here are my personal thoughts on this new league that Rabil is starting along with a number of sports and media investor led by the Raine Group. 

Initially was very intrigued by it and thought that Rabil being involved was very odd since he seems to have such a close relationship with Warrior, who basically owns the MLL. The more I read into the initial article by Bloomberg I thought that it was great and could really work. Then I got to the traveling circus part. 

While I don't doubt Rabil and his efforts to make professional lacrosse the best that it can be, I actually hate the idea of the traveling league. We have seen it before with the LXM Pro Tour and look what happened to them, the MLL purchased it. Now, that all had to do with other issues with the MLL and I don't think the LXM Pro Tour was as financially stable as this new PLL will be. Looking at some of the people and organizations that the Raine Group is associated with and WOW! They have business with Steve Ballmer and the Clippers, UFC, and more.

As a sports fan we all know that leagues have teams and those teams have fan bases. I find it very hard tot think that this new league will be able to get fan bases for these teams if they travel around. I see how it can expose the game to new markets, but struggle to see how it will grow fan bases for the teams and not the league itself. If they were just traveling for the first season to draw fans and see what cities would fit I would be 100% on board. 

Again, I grew up with the NBA, NFL, MLL, and NLL. That is probably one of the reasons why I can't see a traveling league, but who am I to say if it will work or not. I always blindly support anything positive in the lacrosse so I will support the PLL along with the other leagues. It's still too early to project success and I think we all need to see some more information come out before we can see the full scope of how good this thing can be. As always I trust Rabil and his efforts to push the sport forward in a positive direction.