If a book about professional lacrosse is written decades from now, the chapter covering 2019 will without question be dedicated to the first season of the Premier Lacrosse League. From when the newest men’s pro lacrosse league was first announced through the end of this past year, those three letters were ubiquitous.
Personally, it was brought up to me almost every day. It was all over social media, on the sideline at weeknight men’s league games and even at family holiday gatherings. Being someone that has been covering professional lacrosse in all forms over the past several years, the question of “what do you think about this PLL thing?” was posed to me countless times. It truly dominated the conversation all year.
As the summer of men’s professional field lacrosse progressed, I wrote a few articles about each league — both the MLL and the PLL. In the beginning, each league was feeling out the new landscape in their own way. As the season moved week-to-week from the regular season to all-star games to the postseason, they were each forming their own identity in this new lacrosse world. Each league had great things happen, bad things happen and everything in between.
Rather than continue to get wrapped up in the week-to-week publishing deadlines and analyzing every game from both leagues in detail, I opted to take a step back and focus more on what each league was doing at the team and league level to differentiate themselves in order to grow their fanbases.
For some people, that sounds like a boring way to follow a league. But for me — especially in a summer like this — it was fascinating. I, of course, was watching every game that I could and paying attention to all the in-game stuff I normally do. But what I wanted to write about is what changed. This was perfect because I am not a person who enjoys the fast-reaction news cycle we typically find ourselves in today. Sometimes the stories take time to develop, and sometimes it’s a series of events over a longer period that become the real story.
So, for the rest of this week, I will be publishing a series of four articles covering my personal observations and commentary about this past year of men’s professional field lacrosse. First will be a review of the PLL’s first year, followed by a review of the MLL’s year of competition. Then, I will be comparing the MLL against the PLL, which is what I figure most people are going to want to read about. Finally, to wrap things up, I will venture into some fortune-telling and try to come up with what the future may hold for both men’s pro lacrosse (field) leagues and what different scenarios could mean for the sport.