Looks like next season for the NLL. The National Lacrosse League has done what most of us have expected and canceled their 2020-21 season. The league had postponed its start date from December and hoped to fire up a season in early April. The Commissioner, Nick Sakiewicz cited “too many obstacles make it impossible to play in April.”
A few of the issues are very identifiable while others are conjecture but probable. The US- Canada border closure is top of the list. 90% of the players in the league are Canadians. A bubble scenario was explored but, despite other leagues, was not feasible. Unlike the big four sports, the NLL is nothing more than a “part-time” job. Players have businesses and jobs they simply cannot take time from. Doctors, lawyers, first responders who can play on weekends than go back to their home town and work full time. Throw in the “butts in the seat” factor. With no major television or cable deal, the NLL derives most of its income from ticket sales.
Other factors that most likely come into play include the outdoor league, the PLL, which is compromised of mainly Americans, has the benefit of a few factors. A traveling league that can simply avoid issues with quarantine by simply avoiding “hot” areas. A weekend league that does have a “bubble” in place, can and has pulled off an entire season, including playoffs, in less than six weeks.
Throw in the two major Canadian box leagues, the MSL and WLA and the fact that most of the players also play in the NLL. No border constraints with those leagues.
So What is Next for the NLL?
So, what next for the NLL? A recently announced expansion team in Texas and another to be announced. Deep pocket, committed ownership across the board should keep the league viable thru these waters.
Will the fan base return? More than likely. How much impact will be felt by season ticket sales? Looks as if we shall find out. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Things seem to abate and vaccines are being rolled out. Slowly, spectators are being admitted to contests with safety precautions in place.
Looks like next season for the NLL, but our coverage continues. Click here for more coverage.