Last summer, despite being in its second season, the Premier Lacrosse League became one of the first American professional sports leagues to successfully operate a bubble amid the coronavirus pandemic. For more than three weeks, the PLL held its Championship Series outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, featuring what Paul Rabil, one of the league’s co-founders and star of the Atlas Lacrosse Club, called the “pound-for-pound hit. stronger “Lacrosse had never seen.
There are countless lessons Rabil says the league can apply heading into its third season, but nonetheless, Rabil says the PLL is planning to return to a tour-based model this summer.
“It was a great learning experience for us,” says Rabil. “And getting that feedback from our fans and players on overall success has led us to where we are announcing a return to a tour-based format.”
The 2021 PLL season will begin on June 4 with the championship game scheduled for September 19. For three and a half months, the PLL will have games on 11 weekends, including three postseason weekends and one All-Star weekend. Announcement for specific game sites and locations is expected to go live in the coming months.
The news of the league’s schedule comes just weeks after one of the biggest announcements in recent sports history. In mid-December, the PLL announced that it would merge with Major League Lacrosse, in an effort to create a collective American men’s professional outdoor lacrosse league.
In recent years, the leagues had operated under different models, with the PLL using a tour-based model while the MLL, which celebrated its inaugural season in 2001, had its clubs based on specific markets. Rabil says the merger is a “culmination of the last three years,” adding that creating a “unique destination for professional lacrosse will take us a big leap” and create even more interest in the sport.
As part of the merger, earlier this week the PLL officially renamed the MLL’s Boston Cannons the Cannons Lacrosse Club, marking the league’s eighth team and the second consecutive year of expansion.
Like last year, the PLL will produce an entry draft, an expansion draft, and a college draft later this spring. An internal group will also oversee the broader transition, including central office, team and player orientations, and plans to develop youth lacrosse programs at historic MLL locations.
Still, Rabil acknowledges that news of the league’s merger and the 2021 schedule comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide.
“It’s the number one factor for us,” Rabil says on how to deal with the pandemic safely. “We monitor it on a daily basis and we are working with our COVID-19 medical committee that helped us build our successful 2020 championship series bubble format.”
Make it clear that the league does not intend to allow its participants to “jump the line” for the vaccine. Rabil adds that his expected schedule also allows the league to reschedule weekends if necessary and accommodate various complications related to COVID-19.
“We basically have a five-month mattress and we are monitoring the [sic] we have, ”he says.
“We are moving in a direction where we have a lot of momentum behind us. We are excited to expand that both logistically and business, but also psychologically with our players and our fans. “
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.