The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the longest running and most successful professional lacrosse league in the world, today announced that the League is targeting to start their 35th season the weekend of April 9th to 11th in 2021. The focus of the league and NLL teams is to work with health authorities and local jurisdictions to develop health and safety protocols for the players and fans at their games. A detailed schedule will follow at an appropriate time.
“We have been continuously working with our teams, Players’ Association, arenas, and health and government officials to prepare to play our 35th season. An April start date will give us sufficient time to have our protocols in place for players, coaches, staff as well as fans,” NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said. “We are working with all teams to provide the safest environment and an acceptable level of fans in the stands. We understand that current circumstances will dictate whether this plan is achievable, and we will be prepared to remain flexible and pivot as needed. We want to thank all our players, fans and partners who have supported our efforts to stay connected and engaged during this prolonged offseason and are looking forward to returning to play in April.”
Under the current plan, teams would report to individual training camps – some virtual and some in-person – under strict guidelines in mid-March, with all teams beginning game play in April. The league is in the process of continuing to build out several scenarios which factor in current and longer-term restrictions in municipalities in both the United States and Canada with regard to immigration and facility use. The NLL’s plans will remain fluid with options for best case scenarios for teams, officials, players, fans and coaches as April approaches.
“The NLL has put together an excellent plan for our upcoming 35th season. We look forward to working together on behalf of all the players in our membership to get our 35th season underway,” said Zach Currier, President, PLPA. “It is reflective of what can be done with great communication and trust, and we cannot wait to get back to playing.”
The 2019-20 NLL season ended March 12 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
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About the National Lacrosse League
Founded in 1986, the National Lacrosse League (NLL) is the longest running and most successful professional lacrosse league, ranking third in average attendance for pro indoor sports behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is currently comprised of 14 franchises across the United States and Canada: Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Fort Worth NLL (to begin play in 2021-22), Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, New England Black Wolves, New York Riptide, Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors.
According to recent research, the NLL fan is younger (average age 46) than almost every North American professional sports league. Almost sixty percent of its fans come from a non-lacrosse fan base, while the general lacrosse fan has become more engaged than at any point in the history of the league. Most importantly, NLL fans are extremely passionate and engaged, with 58% of NLL fans identifying their favorite NLL team as their favorite sports team. Focusing on a digital first strategy, every NLL game is distributed on Turner’s B/R Live streaming service available on desktop, iOS, Android, and connected devices. The NLL Game of The Week broadcast is also available on Facebook and Twitter, and averaged over 160,000 unique viewers per game last season.
For more information, visit NLL.com and find the @NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.