Manifesting the Premier Lacrosse League’s Endorsement:
When Paul Rabil went on his own to create a new professional lacrosse league, he had a vision in mind. To create a league that considers current sports industry trends such as online streaming, analytics, and player-fan interaction. Most importantly, he saw an opportunity to embrace the fastest growing and most profitable of them all, Sports betting.
The Premier Lacrosse League is the foremost professional lacrosse league founded by the legendary player and Johns Hopkins graduate, Paul Rabil along with his brother Mike in 2018. The Premier Lacrosse League has 8 teams and utilizes a touring model to bring the game and teams to cities across the United States. Games are played across weekends to reduce overall costs and travel while exposing fans to every player and team.
The Premier Lacrosse League is only three years old. In its short life span, it secured the elusive TV deals that former professional lacrosse leagues routinely failed to hold onto or secure in the first place in order to make revenue. The Premier Lacrosse League’s success led to a merger with Major League Lacrosse, a now-folded league that had been around since 1999.
Major League Lacrosse, the former top league, began in 1999. The league was routinely breaking even in revenue and failed to secure consistent fanbases and revenue. This league tried to follow the model of established leagues such as the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB but to no avail. Teams would be established and fold within only a short time. 16 total teams came and went. Only the original 4 were able to maintain status.
Combining Modern Media with a New Sports League
In 2020 the PLL was the first professional sports league to utilize the bubble model. With no fans, the league would take a revenue hit. To offset this loss and keep fan engagement up, The PLL partnered with Genius Sports to begin the first steps in rolling out their PLLBets feature. Genius Sports is a global data collections company that leagues worldwide use to offer sports betting users data services and monitoring.
In an official Premier Lacrosse League statement, founder and player Paul Rabil announced the partnership with Genius along with the PLLBets feature. In his statement, Rabil outlines why sports betting is so vital to the PLL’s goals and growth.
“First sports betting is a great game enhancement and fan engagement tool for fans to fixate on the broadcast, second sports betting is a large part of pro leagues business revenue. Ppl who bet are more vested in the game, [bettors] watch the broadcast, which allows sponsors to interact with fans more.”
Sports betting is part of the new age media that traditional leagues are trying to gain a footing in. As stated by Rabil, sports betting allows for all types of fans to engage in the broadcast. A die-hard fan will always believe that their team will come out on top, so why not put their money where their mouth is and throw down a bet. As for the casual fan, betting provides an opportunity to make money while drawing them into the broadcast or in-person event to watch their bet hit.
Sports betting for growth:
Along with more fans tuning in to broadcasts, Utilizing sports betting as a league allows for more revenue. Taking a percentage of wagered bets is an easy revenue stream for leagues to make up for the loss of in-person ticket and concession sales in this time of social distancing and reduced facility capacity.
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Integrating sports betting into broadcasts introduces fans and informs them that they are not exposed to traditional broadcasts. This movement from the traditional commentary makes broadcasts more exciting and allows for pregame shows, post-game shows, and interweek podcasts/shows focusing on betting instead of the mundane action commentary.
The Premier Lacrosse League is in a very unique position. Being a new league, they are not locked into traditional media. This freedom to adapt and focus on recent trends such as social media interaction, utilizing programming for online streams, and adopting sports betting is quickly fueling their growth.