Joe Tsai is bringing an NLL expansion team to one of the currently hottest North American cities for professional sports: Las Vegas.
Sportico originally broke the story early Wednesday morning, and the NLL confirmed it hours later on social media.
There is little information otherwise available, with no name, arena, or price revealed, but we do have a start date. The Las Vegas team will mark the 15th team in the NLL when it begins play in the 2022-23 season. Further details will be released in the coming months.
Joe Tsai Lacrosse Ownership
The NLL team in Las Vegas will be Joe Tsai’s second squad in the league. The co-founder of Alibaba already owns the San Diego Seals, which he purchased as an expansion team in 2017. He also owns the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA.
“Joe has been nothing short of a spectacular investor in NLL,” NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz told Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico. “We’re ecstatic Joe won the day.”
Joe Tsai becomes the second double owner in the NLL, joining the Pegula family, which owns the Rochester Knighthawks and Buffalo Bandits.
As recently as five years ago, professional sports largely stayed away from Las Vegas. But that first changed with the NHL expanding to the city with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017.
The Golden Knights marked a change in Las Vegas sports. The Oakland Raiders of the NFL moved to the city and began playing there in 2020. Rumors have been swirling around the MLB’s Oakland Athletics relocating to Las Vegas, and the city has been tabbed as a possible expansion target for MLS.
With the addition of Joe Tsai’s Las Vegas franchise, the NLL seems to be following the trend other sports are also attempting to capitalize on as sports betting becomes more and more accepted across the country and Sin City is viewed as a viable sports market.
“There’s a galvanized group of owners who feel very good about the league’s next five to 10 years,” Sakiewicz said to Soshnick and Novy-Williams of Sportico. “The league is looking for a major media deal. We can take the league to the next level in terms of national sponsorship. Crypto, sports betting – there are a lot of commercial opportunities the league can expand into.”