The National Lacrosse League continues to make headlines even though there hasn’t been a game in fifteen months. A few weeks back it was announced that Las Vegas was going to be the next expansion city for the league with Billionaire Joe Tsai owning his second team in the league. That in itself is newsworthy, however, as of last Monday it is now known who the entire ownership group is, and believe me when I say this is a game changer.
The principal owner is Joe Tsai (Chairman of the board of the billion dollar company alibaba) is owner of the San Diego Seals (NLL), and Brooklin Nets (NBA). Mr. Tsai is also chairman of J Tsai Sports. Through that company, he has investments in the Premier Lacrosse League and several sports media and technology companies based in North America and Asia. Tsai is also an investor in the Major League Soccer franchise Los Angeles FC, and In March 2018 Tsai joined a Michael Rubin-led group to buy the Carolina Panthers.
Mr. Tsai’s ownership group will include PGA Golfer Dustin Johnson, former NBA Superstar Steve Nash, and the one and only hockey legend “The Great One” Wayne Gretzky.
Why all the fuss?
For years the NLL has been trying to get the mainstream media to cover them. The league has also tried to get television deals to make them a viable commodity in the sports world. What better way to get the exposure they need than to have top stars with name recognition from other sports as owners in their league.
Do they know the game of lacrosse?
Joe Tsai played lacrosse for the Yale varsity lacrosse team for four years.
Wayne Gretzky played lacrosse for many years in the summer, after hockey season was over…“I could hardly wait to get my lacrosse stick out and start throwing the ball around. It didn’t matter how cold or rainy it would be, we’d be out firing the ball against walls and working on our moves as we played the lacrosse equivalent to road hockey.”
Steve Nash, former NBA player, and current New Jersey Nets head coach also played lacrosse growing up in Coquitlam, B.C., following the Victoria Shamrocks.
Dustin Johnson is the #1 ranked golfer in the world and has earned 24 PGA Tour and two international victories. Earlier this spring, he won the Masters Tournament held in Augusta, GA. Johnson has been a Team USA member four times in the Ryder Cup and three times in The Presidents Cup. and is Wayne Gretzky’s son in law.
The news that during a pandemic the NLL is expanding again is already big, but with the star power, ability to attract crowds and media makes this huge news!
The league is taking full advantage of down time in other sports to make blockbuster announcements, getting themselves in the newspapers and TV. Another brilliantly planned out endeavor by Commissioner Nick Sakeiwicz and his inner circle.