NBC Sports Nabs TV Rights of the Inaugural Season of Premier League Lacrosse
The Premier Lacrosse League announced its entrance in the sports world, bringing fast-paced action, the world’s top players, unprecedented access to the game for fans in venue and at home, and a unique tour-based model to professional lacrosse. Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) will deliver what the lacrosse community has been seeking: a true home for the sport with the best players, a strong business model, significant financial support, national media coverage through an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group, and a unique touring structure that will better serve players and fans.
Premier Lacrosse League, which is co-founded by the sport’s most high-profile player and personality, Paul Rabil, along with his brother, serial entrepreneur and investor, Mike Rabil, will provide players with full-time wages, equity in PLL, and benefits — becoming the first major North American professional team sports league that offers equity to the players.
“Ever since I fell in love with the game I dreamed of being a professional athlete on the sport’s biggest stage,” says Paul Rabil, co-founder and CSO of Premier Lacrosse League. “We’re building the professional sports league that lacrosse deserves. The best players in the world will be showcased like never before, thanks to a unique touring model, a robust media-rights partnership, and player content strategy. Additionally, our players will be owners in the PLL, contributing to the build, competition, and ultimate success of the league. This is a product that aligns a league and the players like never before, serving a passionate fan base that deserves access to the sport nationwide, at state-of-the-art venues, and on screens everywhere.”
The inaugural 2019 Premier Lacrosse League season will get underway on June 1st — beginning a 14-week season, with stops in 12 major-market cities across the country. The PLL season will include 10 regular-season weekends, one all-star weekend, and two playoff weekends, concluding with the championship weekend on September 21st.
Most impactful for the growth of the league and the sport of lacrosse, will be that all leagues games — from the regular season and all-star game through the PLL championship — will be presented live across NBC Sports Group’s broadcast, cable, digital, and direct-to-consumer platforms.
“We are excited to partner with one of the world’s greatest lacrosse players, Paul Rabil, and his brother Mike on this innovative and revolutionary new league,” says Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports.
“As the exclusive home of the PLL, we’ll super-serve fans across the country by utilizing all of our unprecedented assets to drive awareness to this exciting new league. NBC Sports has a long and successful history of growing emerging sports into powerhouses, and we’re excited by this new opportunity.”
“NBC Sports is synonymous with great storytelling, best-in-class production, and utilizing all of its platforms and assets to deliver record-setting viewership,” adds Rabil. “We could not be more thrilled to have them as our exclusive partner as we launch our revolutionary league.”
NBC Sports will present 17 games on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), and two on NBC, all of which will also be streamed via authentication on NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app. NBC Sports Gold — NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer live streaming product powered by Playmaker Media — will live stream 20 games exclusively for its subscribers. More details about this offering will be announced at a later date.
“This is a complete and immersive way to capture the passion and excitement of the lacrosse community and sports fans everywhere,” says Mike Rabil, the league’s co-founder and CEO. “With our terrific partners, dedicated investors, partnership with NBC Sports, and incredibly talented executive team, lacrosse is about to get a league befitting of the rabid enthusiasm the sport has always enjoyed.”
Among the first-of-its-kind ways PLL will approach the sport, will be a new touring model approach, designed to optimize exposure for the league, and introduce the game’s top stars to new markets and cities from coast to coast. With six teams comprised of 20 players competing each weekend, the Premier Lacrosse League will descend upon each market for a weekend, providing fans with three games on the field, unprecedented and innovative access, as well as a fan festival, and other interactive opportunities.
“This is a revolutionary model, which will place the PLL at the forefront of the next evolution in professional team sports,” says Kyle Harrison, world-class professional lacrosse player and Director of Player Relations, PLL. “What Mike and Paul have established with this league is going to have a tremendous impact on players’ ability to be rewarded for the sport they love, as well as the overall continued development of the game, and professional sports as a whole.”
Additionally, in support of its launch, the PLL has secured the financial backing of world-class investors and entertainment groups, including The Raine Group, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), The Chernin Group, and Blum Capital.
“The PLL is utilizing many of the best elements from established properties and applying them in a new format designed for the rapidly changing sports, media, and entertainment ecosystem,” says Colin Neville, Managing Director, Raine. “We meet a lot of entrepreneurs, and Paul and Mike truly stand out for their passion, energy, and ability to get things done. Raine is thrilled to support their vision for growing professional lacrosse.”
As part of this investment, the PLL has established a first-of-its-kind equity model for the league’s players to participate in the long-term growth and success of the league. Players will be personally invested in the league’s growth – an environment in which the league’s owners and players are completely aligned. In addition, players will receive a season-long, salary-based compensation structure and health care coverage, all of which are unprecedented benefits in today’s professional lacrosse leagues.