Lacrosse, a physical, fast, tough, and skilled game continues to grow with hopes to become the 5th major league in North America. The National Lacrosse league has struggled to break through the clutter, and has failed to prove itself economically to contend with other leagues. The game is exciting, and fan oriented but has failed to compete for spectators. I argue a few reasons contribute to this fact and are issues that need to be addressed. Box (indoor) lacrosse not only competes with other leagues and sports, but it also contends with another stem of the same sport that is played on fields. Field lacrosse is currently one of the fastest growing sports in North America and has school programs throughout the NCAA and in Canada (CUFLA), and a professional league Major Lacrosse League (MLL). Many lacrosse fans will agree that the box lacrosse product is faster, and more entertaining to watch, so why has this not transferred over to the NLL gaining economic support? A sport that does not have a stable backing needs to find ways to integrate these two stems to benefit each other to create this stability.
The NLL currently has 3 canadian teams and 6 american teams, all of which are located in the Northern regions of the United States. These regions are dominated by hockey, and this is the second problem that the league faces. Hockey is not going anywhere and the league must find ways to improve its business model and continue to grow at a slow pace because this growth will not happen over night.
Recently, the National Lacrosse league (NLL) announced a new CBA was reached with the players association. This seven year agreement changes the landscape for the league and will give owners and league officials the chance to change and improve their business models. The agreement changes the regular season schedule to include 2 more games per team, and the playoff schedule will adopt a two game series in the conference finals and Champions Cup, with a 10-minute mini-game to decide the winner if the two games are split. The CBA highlights many other changes, I argue that the biggest change is this schedule growth, and the excitement a playoff series will bring, versus the 1 game elimination structure.
One major downfall to the CBA is players salaries not changing and are currently below the average income and these players are forced to work monday-friday jobs as well. The league loses talent because some players can not handle working and being a professional athlete. The league needs to find a way to make money to support the athletes and this has to be at the forefront of the business. Growing the schedule will help this happen, and the league just has to continue to grow at its own rate.