Hallelujah! Major League Lacrosse will be televised in 2012 more than it was in 2011! Last Summer, we only got to see 4 or 5 MLL games broadcast nationally, and they were all on ESPN’s network. Some people got to see a lot more than just those games, but only if their local sports channel decided to get in on the action. If you lived in Brooklyn, you were out of luck. If you lived in New Orleans, Cox showed every game possible. Without a national broadcast partner, it was very hit or miss. (See full press release on MLL’s site)
For the 2012 season however, the MLL has signed a deal with CBS Sports Network to broadcast 14 additional games, bringing the total of nationally televised games to 20. CBS Sports Network has been a long-time broadcaster of college lacrosse, and it’s great to see that they are going to offer the pro version of the sport as well. I have the utmost confidence that they will do a good job, and that 2012 will be a big improvement over 2011. So not only do we get two more MLL teams in Ohio and Charlotte, but we get to see games on our TVs and not our computers!
ESPN3.com was fine for lax junkies and existing MLL fans, but it wasn’t doing anything to bring new people to the league. No one flips through the internet TV guide, finds lax and tunes in. But people will find MLL games by chance on the CBS Sports Network, because it’s on TV, and that’s how TV works. People channel surf and use the guide. It also means that bars will randomly put games on over the summer, and it means there will be more clips available for sports highlight shows. It makes the league seem more legitimate, and the quality of the video will be a huge step up.
CBS Sports Network reaches over 44 Million people in the US, and around 50 Million more people COULD be receiving it, if they chose to. Hopefully adding MLL lacrosse to their scheduled programming will pull some more people over to CBS Sports Network! If they invest in lacrosse, we should invest in them, right? And we can do that by watching! And even some of our Canadian friends can get CBS Sports Network, as long as they have the right cable provider. Check here to see if you can get CBS Sports Network.
And to serve as a cherry on top, CBS Sports Network will also host all 18 episodes of Inside The MLL, a 30-minute show covering the previous week’s games and the current league news.
I’ve been complaining like crazy for the past year that I couldn’t watch enough MLL games on TV. I WANTED to watch the games, but streaming is still far from perfect and it’s just not the same as when a game is on TV.
For 2012 my prayers have been answered, so when can I start complaining about only getting one game per week? I’m impossible, I know. But the MLL is making moves, listening to their fans and stepping up their TV presence. And I like that. A lot. It’s all about a steady, natural progression, and this another step in the right direction.