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Archive for October 24, 2018

Oct. 24, 2018 — A second split, and a twist

The hot topic over the last year or so in women’s lacrosse is the debate over the roles of not just one, but two women’s professional leagues held over the summer.

And now, that debate is going to be fired over on the men’s side. This week, it was announced that former Johns Hopkins All-American Paul Rabil would be forming a second men’s lacrosse circuit to travel across the United States this summer, similar to the traveling round-robin feast that the women’s leagues have been doing.

The Professional Lacrosse League is reputed to have signed 140 players, including many of the best stars from Major League Lacrosse, a venture that has been around since 2001. The PLL’s 140 players, including 10 Tewaaraton winners, are to be split into six teams for the traveling lacrosse feast which is likely to go to major markets with mid-sized stadiums (more of the soccer-specific facilities for MLS rather than cavernous NFL stadia) for league competition. The six teams will play three games in two days over the course of 12 or 13 weeks next summer, and action will be broadcast by the NBC Sports Network.

That the league already has a broadcast partner shows that Rabil and the marketing people behind the league have already done some homework. The league also has financial and personal backing from several investment firms, and is being backed by betting site Draft Kings and a sports news site called Barstool.

Barstool, for what it’s worth, did break a number of stories in the field hockey and lacrosse worlds that no other members of the mainstream media would touch, including a full-out stick-swinging attack during a girls’ high-school lacrosse game about three years ago.

But it was a year ago, if you may recall, that ESPN ended a show with Barstool personalities after one episode over claims and complaints about misogyny not only during the show, but on the Barstool website.

And for a sport which has aspirations of being on the Olympic program, this may not be the media partner that the PLL is looking for.