Lax Is Back But Will They All Survive?

It is New Year’s Day 2012 and in the coming month, we have not just one, but three lacrosse leagues slated to start.  Or at least that is the plan. 

Most everyone knows about the National Lacrosse League.  Moreso, anyone in Ontario or even Canada knows about and followed to some degree, the Toronto Rock and their latest Championship in 2011.  The Rock will be raising that banner this coming Sunday January 8th at 6pm in their Home Opener at the Air Canada Centre.

But while the party will be taking place in the big city, two more leagues are to get underway this month as well.  First, the newly created Canadian Lacrosse League, aka CLax appears all set to go this coming Saturday with a triple header set up in Six Nations, Ontario.  And in a couple of weeks, the North American Lacrosse League (NALL) looks primed for a January 19th start.

The lacrosse addicts are in their element.  But the big question remains; will these leagues work and will they survive?  The one thing that there is no shortage of is players to fill rosters.  I think the bigger question is, will they be able to put paying butts in seats?  This has always been the problem with lacrosse when compared to hockey, or baseball, or football.  Many non-believers call lacrosse a niche sport, a sort of cult if you will, that only those die hards that have grown up in it or around it, will ever love.

There was an announcement just today that the NALL was going to suspend operations this year.  These rumours were quickly squashed and the NALL has confirmed that they will indeed play……albeit a modified schedule.   This must raise an eyebrow of concern.

One has to wonder in both cases (CLax and NALL) if they will get the revenues to survive.  In the end it all comes down to money.  These leagues need sponsorships, ticket sales, and merchandise sales to survive or they will not be around long. Remember just a few expenses include players / coaches salaries, insurance, and facilities rental. And these facilities cannot be cheap.

So while it is a great thing for lacrosse that more players have the opportunity to play, there is so much more required for these these leagues to survive.

In the CLax example there are a numer of recognizable lacrosse folks getting involved. But there are also a number of recognizable lacrosse folks that are not. Are the nay sayers just not willing to expand the game? Or are they just not sold?

Time will tell…..

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