The NLL is arguably the biggest lacrosse league in professional sports right now. With 13 teams, an average attendance of 9,596 fans at every game and what seems like an announcement every week or so of some new corporate partnership, it would seem that the NLL is doing quite well from a business standpoint under the guidance of current league commissioner Nick Sakiewicz.
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at who some of the leaders in lacrosse are — current owners of NLL franchises — and provide some info about their ownership history, their professional life as well as other interesting information about them.
There are some pretty big names in business and sports that also act as owners for NLL franchises. There’s Comcast Spectacor that owns the Philadelphia Wings (as well as the Flyers of the NHL and the Philadelphia 76ers), Terry and Kim Pegula, who own the Buffalo Bandits and Rochester Knighthawks, as well as the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills, and Joe Tsai, who owns the San Diego Seals, the Brooklyn Nets and has been an investor in the Premier Lacrosse League.
We’ll be doing a profile on each of the owners for the various NLL franchises over the next few weeks. Below is a list of all of the current owners and their respective franchises. We’ll update this info with hyperlinks once these articles are published.
Hopefully, this series will be informative and will provide a little glimpse into the pro sports industry including how it relates to lacrosse. Our goal will be to do similar profiles on major players in the WPLL, PLL and MLL.
For now, here’s the list!
Leaders In Lacrosse: List of NLL Owners
Terry & Kim Pegula – Buffalo Bandits, Rochester Knighthawks
When Terry Pegula purchased the Buffalo Sabres in 2011, the Buffalo Bandits came along as part of the deal. In 2018, Terry reached an agreement to purchase the Rochester Knighthawks from Curt Styles who now owns the Halifax Thunderbirds. Terry also owns other franchises like the Buffalo Bills along with his wife and successful businesswoman Kim Pegula, who is the president of Pegula Sports and Entertainment, a company that manages their pro sports franchises.
John Arlotta, Andy Arlotta – Georgia Swarm
John Arlotta originally purchased what was then the Minnesota Swarm in 2008. John is a Notre Dame alumnus and was actually the lead donor for Arlotta Stadium at the university. His son, Andy, is a co-owner and current president of the Swarm, entering 12th season. John is a retired Captain in the US Army Reserves and has been a CEO and managed a diverse array of companies. Both he and his son Andy have experience in the healthcare industry as well.
Mohegan Tribe, Brad Brewster – New England Black Wolves
The New England Black Wolves are partially-owned by both the Mohegan Tribe, a federally-recognized tribe and sovereign nation, and Brad Brewster, who has worked in public affairs and various law and political capacities. The Black Wolves were actually relocated from Philadelphia and were the former Wings franchise that existed in Philadelphia from 1987 to 2014. The Black Wolves began league play during the 2014-2015 season.
Comcast Spectacor – Philadelphia Wings
Comcast Spectacor — a sports group owned by Comcast — currently owns the Philadelphia Wings as well as the Philadelphia Flyers. David Scott currently serves as Chairman and CEO of the company, and also acts as Governor of the Philadelphia Flyers for the National Hockey League.
Jamie Dawick – Toronto Rock
Jamie Dawick is the current owner for the Toronto Rock which was purchased after the 2009 season. Dawick has also served as general manager for the team since 2014. Dawick was helped complete the privately-financed $20 million dollar Toronto Rock Athletic Centre, which has hosted NLL games, the NLL draft and NLL combine.
Calgary Flames – Calgary Roughnecks
The Calgary Flames purchased the Calgary Roughnecks in 2011, which was the third NLL team to be owned by a group that also included hockey franchises. N. Murray Edwards is the current chairman, director and co-owner of the Calgary Flames and has also been involved in various philanthropic efforts. Alvin G. Libin, Allan P. Markin and Jeffrey J. McCaig are also all listed on owners on the Roughnecks website.
Stan Kroenke – Colorado Mammoth
Stan Kroenke bought the Mammoth in 2004 and owns a plethora of other sports franchises such as the Los Angeles Rams, the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche, the Colorado Rapids and the English Premier League football club Arsenal. Fun fact: the Colorado Mammoth were awarded the honor of hosting the league’s one-millionth fan of the 2006 season, which was the first time the NLL had reached over a million fans during the season.
Joe Tsai – San Diego Seals
Joe Tsai is the co-founder and executive vice-chairman of the Alibaba Corporation and current owner of the San Diego Seals, Brooklyn Nets and is an investor in the Premier Lacrosse League. Joe played lacrosse at Yale University, graduating with his undergraduate in 1986 and a doctorate from Yale Law School in 1990. The Seals made the playoffs in their first season as an expansion franchise. He is quickly emerging as one of the leaders in lacrosse.
Bruce Urban – Saskatchewan Rush
The Rush franchise was purchased by Bruce Urban back in 2005 and has been one of the NLL’s most successful franchises, having won three championships within the last five seasons and are hoping to compete for their fourth this year. Urban is the owner and operator of the Western RV Group of Companies, the largest RV dealer in Western Canada.
Canucks Sports & Entertainment – Vancouver Warriors
The Warriors were sold to Canucks Sports & Entertainment in 2018 and were relocated to Rogers Arena from the Langley Events Centre. The team was rebranded as well. Canucks Sports & Entertainment is owned by the Aquilini Investment Group, whose managing director is Francesco Aquilini, a Canadian businessman.
That’s the complete list with a bit of brief information about the ownership situation of each team. We’ll take a deeper dive into each of these leaders in lacrosse in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Correction: The original article listed Comcast Spectacor as also currently owning the Philadelphia 76ers. Comcast Spectacor sold the 76ers franchise to Josh Harris in 2011, and is owned by Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, of which Harris is chairman. This article has been updated to reflect this correction.