Major League Lacrosse’s collegiate draft will once again take place during the Winter before players graduate, and well before the college or pro seasons begin. Just like last year, the draft will be in Philadelphia and it is being run in a partnership with US Lacrosse, and the National Convention. This is the third year that the draft is being held in the Winter.
The draft presents a festive and fun opportunity for players, coaches, and fans alike to all mingle, and enjoy the up close and personal experience of a pro sports draft. The MLL draft starts at 8:30pm on Friday night, and follows an address by NFL coach Dick Vermeil, which runs at 7pm. The draft will be held in the Liberty Ballroom in the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. Admission is FREE!
So now that you know the basics, let’s explore why this is truly a great idea…
The MLL is still a relatively young professional league, and to see long-term success, the MLL will need to market itself as much as possible. Ads, appearances, and promo events are a good start, but a large event like a draft is ideal, especially if you can get lots of people to show up! By choosing to partner up with the US Lacrosse Convention, the MLL lays a solid foundation for higher attendance. People are looking for things to do at night, and a pro draft definitely fills that void.
There will be plenty of pre-draft prognosticating. The conversation that will emerge from the draft results will fill lacrosse media outlets for weeks afterwards. College players will be paying attention, and the guys who get drafted will have plenty of time to think about their next lacrosse step. Overall, it creates a ton of positive buzz for the league, and it gets people excited months in advance of the regular season kicking off. The draft also positions the MLL as a big-time lacrosse entity, and this definitely helps promote the image of the league.
For US Lacrosse, this move maintains their position as one of the, if not the, most important organizations within the sport. Everyone works with them from youth to pro. The proof is in convention attendance, and US Lacrosse’s overall pull. By adding the MLL draft, the US Lacrosse Convention has taken a big step in maintaining this King of the hill position.
But most importantly, the MLL draft is also great for fans. First off, the event is free. That’s always good news. But the secondary benefits are pretty solid too. Fans can meet pro players, see the MLL coaches in action on Draft night, cheer, get to know the league and have some fun. It really is a win-win-win!
For more on the MLL Draft, check out my interview with MLL Commissioner, David Gross!