The titan of lacrosse continues to grow. PIC: NBAE/Getty Images
Joe Tsai, Bob Kraft, and the Raine Group all have owned stake in the PLL since its inception in 2019. And although PLL CEO Mike Rabil declined to divulge exactly how much their revolutionary lacrosse league is valued at, it certainly got a boost with its new partners.
The PLL announced on Thursday they’ve raised a Series D round of funding, reported by Bloomberg’s Jason Kelly. The Chernin Group - who owns a majority stake in Barstool Sports, Cameo, and other popular digital brands - led the investment round, and the interested parties are certainly noteworthy. Both WWE and 12-time NBA All Star Kevin Durant contributed to the investment round, marking some massive strides made for the sport.
This round comes at a very interesting time for the sport. The PLL is seeing exponential growth in ticket sales, social media engagements, and fan loyalty, and 2022 is no exception. The first few crowds have all been quite significant; Albany, New York and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro each saw record attendance. The movement to introduce lacrosse as an Olympic sport in 2028 is carrying lots of momentum, and a sixes-style tournament will be introduced in the offseason. A new multi-year agreement with ESPN has propelled the PLL to the national stage; between multiple contests on ESPN and ABC this year already, with primetime national TV slots coming up in the coming weeks, it’s easy to say the game of lacrosse has never had more eyes than it has now.
So, what happens now? These three pillars are key areas for the PLL to focus on with the Series D round.
As the PLL expands, the key theme of personnel is evident. Recruiting the world’s top-tier sports talent - both on the field and off - is of paramount importance. Many fans & insiders believe that although there’s so much elite talent on the field, there may be more equally competitive talent that remains without an active contract in the player pool. So, theoretically, there could be room for another expansion in the cards. From a staff perspective, the payoffs are immediate and transparent; finding the best talent becomes a bit less daunting of a task with an injection of funds.
Paul Rabil, who received All Star accolades 14 times over his illustrious career, recently said on Pardon My Take that there will eventually be a day in which the league will abandon its tour model and revert to geography-based models, assigning physical locations to each team. With the right capital, that day might be bumped up a bit on the calendar.