"This will be a landmark year for the league, its partners, its leadership and most importantly its athletes, coaches and fans,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz (@NLLcommish). “The interest in all we are doing; from our digital first stance to our careful but aggressive expansion plans to our amazing community programs designed to grow the game for all have created buzz around the NLL that hasn’t been seen before, and we are excited to continue to make news in the coming months as pro lacrosse, especially the exciting indoor game, moves to a level never before seen.”
Sakiewicz is now in his second year at the NLL helm after a long career in professional soccer, which included twice winning MLS Executive of the Year.
The 2017-18 season will begin on December 8 with the defending champion Georgia Swarm visiting the New England Blackwolves, the Toronto Rock visiting the Buffalo Bandits, and the Colorado Mammoth visiting the Vancouver Stealth. On Saturday, December 9, the Calgary Roughnecks will visit the Rochester Knighthawks to complete opening weekend. All matches will be shown on NLL TV, the league’s award winning digital platform and CBS Sports Digital, with the Toronto vs. Buffalo matchup featured as the NLL Game of the Week livestreamed on Twitter.
The offseason has already been one of the busiest in NLL history, with two franchises already on board for 2018-19; the San Diego Seals (owner by Alibaba co-founder and soon to be Brooklyn Nets minority owner Joe Tsai) and the Philadelphia Wings (owned by Comcast).
The response by new partners to joining the fast-rising group has been impressive, with the NLL targeting key geographic areas that have seen a huge growth not just in lacrosse, but in indoor (box lacrosse) at the grassroots, high school and even collegiate level. Those areas that have been targeted as expansion markets include the Washington/Baltimore corridor, the New York metropolitan area, the San Francisco/San Jose area, and Dallas, Texas.