Philadelphia, June 4, 2020– The National Lacrosse League, the longest running and most successful professional lacrosse league in the world, today announced that the League is focusing its attention and efforts on preparing for the next season and has decided not to complete the 2019-20 season. The decision follows the cancellation of the regular season which was announced on April 6th after suspension of the regular season on March 12th due to COVID-19.
“After an exhaustive effort weighing all of the factors, including the health and safety of our players and staff, immigration challenges, and the resources required to execute a post-season tournament under the current circumstances, our senior leadership and Board have agreed to redirect our attention to planning for next season,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “We want to thank all those involved, especially our players, coaches, and league and team staff, and most importantly our fans and partners, for their continued support and engagement through this global pandemic. Communities are starting to open up, sports are beginning to return, and we look forward to our 35th season. We wish everyone continued health and safety as we navigate our way back to the game.”
“We appreciate all the work that Nick and the team at the NLL have put in during these challenging times, and wholeheartedly support this decision,” said Peter Schmitz, President, Professional Lacrosse Players’ Association (PLPA).
“The health and safety of our players is always paramount. The league office has kept us apprised of the efforts to try and find a reasonable solution and that the continued uncertainty of the many considerations needed to restart the season have made it virtually impossible to chart a course to a season finale. We regret that the players, fans and clubs won’t get to enjoy what was sure to be an exciting playoff series but in light of the current state of affairs, we agree a focus on next years’ season is the best use of the downtime. We are all are looking forward to resumption of play next season.”
The dates for the 2020 NLL Draft, as well as for the start of the 35th season of the NLL, will be announced this fall.
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About the National Lacrosse League
Founded in 1986, the National Lacrosse League (NLL) is the longest running and most successful professional lacrosse league, ranking third in average attendance for pro indoor sports behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is comprised of 13 franchises across the United States and Canada: Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, New England Black Wolves, New York Riptide, Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors.
According to recent research, the NLL fan is younger (average age 46) than almost every North American professional sports league. Almost sixty percent of its fans come from a non-lacrosse fan base, while the general lacrosse fan has become more engaged than at any point in the history of the league. Most importantly, NLL fans are extremely passionate and engaged, with 58% of NLL fans identifying their favorite NLL team as their favorite sports team. Focusing on a digital first strategy, every NLL game is distributed on Turner’s B/R Live streaming service available on desktop, iOS, Android, and connected devices. The NLL Game of The Week broadcast is also available on Facebook and Twitter, and averages over 160,000 unique viewers per game this season.