The National Lacrosse League (NLL) and the Professional Lacrosse Players Association (PLPA) have signed a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) through the 2020 season. The agreement includes a luxury tax, reduction in roster size, and an increase in number of games from 16 to 18. These three measures will help the league stabilize expenses for the next two years with the intention of seeing growth and expanded awareness for lacrosse.
Lacrosse is Canada’s national sport, though many Canadians associate their identity with hockey. The NLL has struggled for many years to maintain a TV deal and compete with the four major professional sport leagues, football, baseball, hockey, and basketball. While the CBA is designed to stabilize expenses how does it create new fans and expand awareness?
With the winter season competing against three of the four leagues TV deals and fan desire to consume lacrosse is at an all time low. The future of professional lacrosse is haunted by its past. The quick forced expansion was built without a foundation and a plan for what was to come for lacrosse. This new CBA is designed to pick up the peaces, reduce some debt and prepare the league to move forward over the next seven years.
The intentions are all there but how do you compete against the successful professional sport leagues like the MLB, NHL, and NBA? I believe TV is very important, and with that the NLL needs to find a way to present a unique fan experience through TV and make lacrosse something we desire. The playoffs have been expanded to a two game series from single elimination, that’s a start, but from here where do they go? Reebok recently discontinued their lacrosse equipment line, so who takes over, and what can they provide to create a more successful partnership than Reebok. If lacrosse is our national sport in Canada what can we do to help it become a viable business venture? Why aren’t we big fans of lacrosse like we are hockey, football, baseball, and basketball?