Premier Lacrosse League to Overtake Age Old Major Lacrosse League?


Photo Courtesy of Paul Rabil

Julian Kilgore, Staff Writer

The Premier Lacrosse League was born out of the frustration with the Major Lacrosse League experienced by many players. Paul Rabil is a 2x MLL MVP, World Games Gold Medalist, 3x Offensive Player of the Year, 9x First Team All Pro, and 10x All-Star. Rabil -who is arguably the best lacrosse player to ever play the game- decided to make a change. So, he decided to found his own lacrosse league along with his brother and many of the biggest names in professional lacrosse.

The Premier Lacrosse League will begin its first season in the summer of 2019. The PLL will be a league where the teams travel to different cities and play a weekend tournament instead of being solely based in one city. Rabil believes the tour based model will appeal to a bigger audience, where the fans will be able to see more lacrosse and see more of the players they love.

The attendance numbers of the MLL have been dropping and haven’t really drawn the crowds. Some games have less of an audience than some college lacrosse games. Along with the tour based model, Paul Rabil and his brother Mike Rabil have secured an NBC Sports television deal which will air every game. This deal will increase the exposure of Lacrosse drastically. The MLL has failed to secure such deal. The lack of such a deal for the MLL has contributed to its lack of following and exposure.

The experience for fans of an MLL game is quite lack luster, and feels similar to a high school lacrosse game. The players are very good, but deserve better after their years of hard work to make it the pros. Many of the best players have jumped ship from the MLL to the PLL  -like Trevor Baptiste, Kyle Hartzell, and Kyle Harrison- to join Paul Rabil. The force behind the PLL is not one to be reckoned with. Alex McCarthy, a senior at GHS who plays for the varsity lacrosse team, says “I think it’s gonna make the games themselves more exciting”.

Players in the MLL have been subject to subpar conditions relative to the standards of what a professional athlete should be subjected to. The players in the MLL have had to work other jobs for years; never able to fully focus on lacrosse due to their financial needs. There is generally one practice a week and that’s only the day before the game. One practice a week is hardly good enough for a professional athlete to maintain their skill. Also, the schedule of the MLL conflicts with the National Lacrosse League (indoor box lacrosse) schedule (many MLL players also play in the NLL). Many players want to play in the NLL to keep their professional lacrosse dreams alive and make some more money so they don’t have to keep working another job.

The PLL plans to change some of the gripes the players have with the MLL. The PLL will give players full time wages and benefits such as health care and eye care, as well as equity in the PLL -the first North American league to give equity to players. The season will not interfere at all with the NLL season and have little impact on international competitions. There will be consistent practices and the players will primarily be focused on lacrosse instead of other jobs.

The benefits the PLL will provide, and its schedule, will bring the best out of the players. They will be playing at their highest and the viewer experience will be better for it. Nick Mason, a senior varsity lacrosse player at GHS, says, “[The players] will be able to showcase their skills at more places”.