On Wednesday, the National Lacrosse League announced that the city of San Diego and owner Joe Tsai would be gifted the leagues 10th official franchise.
Joe Tsai, with a net worth of over $11 billion, is the Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba. Tsai is a former lacrosse player himself, playing for Yale back in the 1980s. He paid $5 million to be the sole owner of the San Diego lacrosse team.
Now before we dive into the information that is available on the team, let’s look into exactly what the National Lacrosse League actually is.
The league was founded in 1986 and had its inaugural season in 1987. The official sport of the league is box lacrosse, drawing comparisons that traditional soccer and indoor soccer share. Another comparison that can be made is the similarity box lacrosse shares with ice hockey.
For starters, teams play on an indoor field that is actually laid onto an ice hockey rink. Same dimensions, and the field is surrounded by the same hockey glass. Each team has six players on the field at all times. Five runners that consist of forwards, transition players, defensive players, and one goalie. In total, teams dress 18 players, with two of them being goalies. The teams rotate and substitute the 18 players very similarly to the way it is done in professional ice hockey.
Each game consists of four, 15-minute quarters, and teams usually average a combine 25 goals throughout the game. If tied at the end of regulation, the teams enter a sudden death overtime where the first team to score wins the game. There are no ties in the National Lacrosse League.
The league draws a pretty large crowd for having just ten teams. In a “digital first” movement, the league focuses on streaming games through social media, as well as their NLL TV services.
Last season, the league saw an increase of 12% in the average attendance, which grew to just around 10,000 fans per game. Every week, the NLL has a “Twitter Game of the Week,” which draws an average crowd of 344,000 views per game. The NLL TV service also has grown to over 25,000 accounts despite launching just nine months ago.
The San Diego expansion team will play in the ever-so-aging Valley View Casino Center. A team name and logo has yet to be released, but the team plans to hold an event later this fall where they will release it.