If I Owned An MLL Franchise: Location & Name


Editor’s Note: Welcome to our new Summer Series of posts, If I Owned An MLL Team, where different people will create a hypothetical franchise in Major League Lacrosse. Some posts will cover one aspect of creating a franchise, while others will lay out the full plan in one fell swoop.

If you have ideas for future areas of conversation, want to submit your own hypothetical team, or just want to comment on this particular area of creating a team, then hit us up in the comments section.  We’re interested to hear what you have to say!

The first post in the Series comes from Connor Wilson, and it covers the most basic elements of an imaginary team: Location, and the Team Name!


I’d love to name my hypothetical MLL team The Sharks With Lazers On Their Heads, no matter where I might locate my franchise, but I just don’t think that is going to fly with the league office. So if I can’t go crazy, I want to go classic. Before I can come up with a team name, and in order to make an informed decision, I’ll need to pick a location for my imaginary MLL squad.

With the exception of Denver, every MLL franchise is really an East Coast team. Even Ohio fits this description as it’s only one state away from the Atlantic Ocean, and I am an East Coast guy.  I like it out West, but I’m not sure I’m ready to move there yet.  In fact, I’m not sure I’m ready to move at all, which is great, because I’m going to put my MLL team in Brooklyn, New York.


First of all, I love it here, and there are a ton of great lacrosse players in and around New York City. Right now there are at least three different men’s club teams using some variation of the name Brooklyn Lacrosse. When you expand the reach to the rest of the City, New Jersey, Westchester, Fairfield County, and western Nassau County, the numbers become staggering.

Two potential problems arise immediately with this location, and those are 1) the proposed team’s proximity to the Long Island Lizards, and 2) the concerns over prohibitive NYC costs getting in the way.

The first issue really is not an issue when you look a little closer. I went to the Long Island game on Friday night and I can tell you there were NOT a lot of City people there. It was a LI event for a LI crowd. I am not worried about pulling them in to the City, because they have lacrosse right there. And I’m not worried about losing NYC fans or players to Long Island either, because like I said, it’s a LI thing out there, and it’s different, sustainable all on its own.

doug shanahan long island lizards
It’s a Long Island thing.

In fact, I think the proximity to Long Island would be a good thing, and create a fantastic and immediate rivalry.  It’s the City vs. the Suburbs, hipsters and bankers teaming up to take on the classic LI lax bros.  Heck, the story lines write themselves.  Plus that’s a couple games where both teams don’t have to fly anyone anywhere, or pay for hotel rooms.  Cha-ching!

That brings us to the concern over prohibitive costs nicely. This is a real issue. No doubt about it. NYC, even Brooklyn, is expensive. If you don’t have a great location set up for games, you won’t get the fans, and you’ll still pay through the nose for it. Finding the right set up, and creating a relationship with the City of New York is therefore your skeleton key to success.

Thankfully, there actually is something in existence to help there. New York City’s Sports Commission is an offshoot of the Mayor’s Office, and this group would have to be instrumental in making professional field lacrosse a reality in NYC.

Want to get a scrimmage or game set up in Central Park to create some buzz? I doubt anyone could make that happen outside of the NYCSC. Maybe the team would play some games at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island between Manhattan and Queens or out on Governor’s Island? The Sports Commission could make it happen in a most excellent way.

But the BEST idea for a Brooklyn franchise would be if the Sports Commission could get the games played in Williamsburg at the turf field in McCarren Park.  Add some temporary, elevated bleachers, remove the goal posts (replace them with soccer goals on wheels) and you’re good to go!  The place has lights for night games, a fence along the outside, and for food and beverage vendors, the City could rely on street carts and food trucks.  It would be like a mini-Summer economy, all thanks to professional lacrosse.

mccarren brooklyn lacrosse

The L train would bring even more people from Manhattan over to see the games in 15 only minutes, and there are a TON of bars and restaurants in the immediate area.  There are also large residential condos with balconies overlooking the park.  Could you imagine what it would be like to take a game in from there? It would only help real estate values to have a pro lax team playing so close.

The park has also hosted HUGE outdoor concerts in the past, so it has been proven to be able to accommodate tens of thousands of people. So 10,000 lacrosse fans in the area?  NO PROBLEM. Bring in a couple of air-conditioned trailers for locker rooms, and it’s a totally manageable start.

If not there, the games could be played at Bushwick Inlet Park.  Again, temporary stands would have to be built, but using a City Parks Department field would result in a great showcase for both the fledgling franchise, and the City itself. Down the road, a move to larger facility or the construction of a field (that could then be rented out as well) could be feasible. If all else fails, Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island would be an interesting option, especially if shuttle busses were provided.

Now that the two biggest potential problems have been addressed (if you can think of more, please post them in the comments section!), it’s time to move on the the team name.  The Brooklyn ________?

Where do I go with this?

There are lots of options here, and many jump out as tempting and flashy. I could play on Brooklyn’s edgy musical side, and name my squad the Poets or Artists, or even the Brooklyn Bohemians. But that would be a pure commodification of culture, and it would lack in any real authenticity. I could try to name us The Warriors, in homage to the cult classic movie, which bears the same name, but I’d like to avoid gang connotations if at all possible. It’s simply not the message I’d want to send.

No, I’m not naming the team The Hipsters, The Yuppies, The Bankers, or anything like that.  I want to have fun with it, but not that much fun. This would be a professional sports franchise after all.

The list of potential names goes on and on like this, but it gets me nowhere. Instead, I’m going to look to history for inspiration, because if I want this to work long term (which I would), history has to play a part.  Just look at the Boston Cannons.  It’s not a great mascot (Boomer is a Cannon), but it plays so nicely to history and tradition in Boston. It makes sense and people embrace it.

Brooklyn, or Breukelen, as the Dutch used to call it, has a long history of its own, and the Borough only became a part of NYC through annexation in the late 1890s (Brooklyn’s official colors are blue and gold, but since the Charlotte franchise took those colors, we’ll have to come up with something else. But I’ll save that for a later post). The Borough’s motto is “Eendraght Maeckt Maght,” which is early Dutch for “Unity Makes Strength.”

I can’t think of a truer sentiment when it comes to lacrosse. Unity does make strength. But even if soccer clubs all over the planet use United as their team name, it’s not the most original thing in the world, so I won’t use it either. Plus the name “United” never seems to play in the US. However, “Eendraght Maeckt Maght” would make for a great back panel on the helmet and team motto.

Since I like the concept, the name will change only slightly: the Brooklyn Union LC. To spice things up, ALL members of Unions located in Brooklyn will get access to discounted tickets! And there are a lot of those. The same would be done for public school lacrosse players from across the City. Solid fan base? Check. Sure, we wouldn’t be The Sharks With Lazers On Our Heads, but the Brooklyn Union definitely has a solid ring to it.

Maybe our mascot could be a shark… lasers optional?

In the end, I would not be trying to bring in every New York City lacrosse player or fan, although that would be great. The idea is to create a real Brooklyn team, with a real Brooklyn presence.  Our players would be encouraged to live in Brooklyn, and we would pick guys who wanted to be here whenever possible.

I would make a play at the general sporting population of the Borough, and hope to draw on some of the 2.5 million people who live here, whether they know lacrosse or not. Boston supports 4 big sports franchises (and the Cannons) with about 1 million people. I think Brooklyn can handle the Nets and my team if I do it right.

With the Nets moving to Brooklyn soon, the area is ready for a sports revolution. By paying homage to the history of the Borough, I would hope to bring in lifelong residents as fans and supporters. By placing the games in McCarren Park, I would make the games highly accessible via public transportation. By working with the City, and Borough, the franchise would have some time to grow and catch on.

Finding players who want to live in NYC and the surrounding area would be easy. Taking a subway to half of your games instead of hopping on a plane or driving to Hempstead? Guys would be JUMPING at the chance to play for Brooklyn. Well, that and they would also have me as their team owner.

What do you think of my plan for a Brooklyn MLL team? Think you can do better?  We’d love to see you try! Email your ideas to Info@Lacrosseallstars.com

Good submissions will be posted on LaxAllStars throughout the Summer!


  1. With how well the Swarm do financially and the growth of the sport in the state, the obvious next location for an MLL team is Minnesota. TCF Bank Stadium at the U of M sits unused most of the summer, so fill it with lacrosse. The team name should be something classic too, Minneapolis Lakers, The North Stars, or the Minnesota Yeti.

  2. Great article and I like the placement of the team, but it also raised another question in my mind for the future of MLL lacrosse. Does the league try to build more western teams to cover the whole U.S (which could potentially make teams shell out tons of money for travel expenses and in the future possibly make a struggling team to collapse) or do we load up the east coast and then slowly move westward to ensure a strong structure?

      • another western 4 team expansion is coming i can fell it. The outlaws need some closer rivals and LA and the entirety of the west coast needs lax. I would expect to see LA, Dallas, Seattle, and i guess Atlanta now get a team in the next wave of expansion. I tink the reason they will not expand to 10 like they said next year is because they want to put the big western expansion in a group of teams so a team or two is not constantly flying cross country.
        But still, RedBull and Philly need a team.

  3. I would definitely bring the new MLL Team to PHILLY! Great city that supports lacrosse. The Inter AC teams like Haverford, Episcopal, Malvern Prep and Hill School are local and have great lacrosse traditions. Philly has had success with MLL team recently with the Barrage (League Champions) and big time NLL success with the Philadelphia Wings.
    They could play at PPL park, home of Pro soccer team and hosted the NCAA Quarterfinals a few weekends ago.I would NOT keep the Barrage name. I agree with Connor that History MUST be involved to help community embrace the team. How about PHILLY LIBERTY, or PHILLY FREEDOM? Colors would OBVIOUSLY be the RED, WHITE and BLUE! Logo could be THE LIBERTY BELL!#ILLADELPHIA

  4. I’m from California so I’d bring the LA Riptide or SF Dragons back from the dead. SF Dragons games were awesome and had pretty good attendance back then, it’d definitely be better today.
    Seattle should add an MLL team-great weather during the season. Although Seattle does have some sort of sports curse with the Sounders and Mariners and tough luck with the Sonics. But Seattle would be great and they’d have the most awesome socks (Seatown Lax- the Seattle skyline silhouette design).
    orrrrrr start one in PORTLAND!! Great city, Portland Timbers have great support and University of Portland has a great fanbase…I think it’d be huge for the sport in the Northwest…plus since Peter Baum won the Tewaaraton…I don’t understand why lacrosse can’t be embraced there as well…

  5. This would likely not happen any time soon, although I would love to see a team actually in NYC, but their are alternatives…
    Red Bull Stadium is basically New York, if they Jiants and Gets are new york, then they are New York. This would be a perfect proximity from NYC to draw a crowd from there, and from they old Pride followers in NJ. Plus RedBull would be an awesome MLL owner. They sponser Rabil, and have done a few Baggetaway tourneys so clearly they have a lax interest. Putting a team in RedBull would be perfect, instant money maker, but the Commish seems intent on markets like Ohio and Atlanta now i guess, I am all for expansion but where is the money in that?

    • New Jersey could work… it’s a central location to the league, plenty of talent in the area to draw from… but I’m still concerned about filling a stadium like Red Bull and making it work financially… but then again, if Red Bull owned the team, it really COULD work there.

      I think the problem becomes drawing in fans. Can you draw fans in to Summer lacrosse where they have to drive, park, deal with traffic, etc?

      My main reason for picking Brooklyn is that none of that should be an issue. I don’t want to name a team NYC or Brooklyn and then play in LI or NJ. The biggest roadblock for a Brooklyn MLL team is a venue… but with an upgrade, McCarren Park would be an amazing spot for games.

      • Isnt their a commeterrail station right buy redbull? You have to drive to just about every stadium in the MLL besides The Harvard Collesium because the RedLine is right there, so i do not see commuting as an issue.
        The Titans failed, so i just do not think that a team actually in NYC can work, unless the owner knows how to market it to the yuppie crowd of newyork , which boston has done a good job of.
        RedBull would be an awesome owner, they are great at working with niche sports, and if they can make a soccer team work, why not lax?
        Soccer is for Europeans anyway.