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When will lacrosse become mainstream?

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When will lacrosse become mainstream? Either the MLL or NLL, I personally prefer watching Field, but Box isn't that bad, I just can't stand the goalie uniforms.

 

Currently the MLL has 9 teams, all along the east coast except Denver. During the 2016 offseason i specifically remember Gross explaining the expansion plan, which was to get around 14-16 teams by 2022, which included expansion in 2017 to even the field at 10 teams. Most rumors have Dallas or Houston getting a team (or even the Rochester Rattlers relocating to one of those cities) but the MLL has dismissed any rumors and Gross is stepping down this season so I doubt they'll be anything major this season. 

 

The NLL has 9 teams but they announced an expansion team to San Diego this season, and potentially Philadelphia as well. The last 4-5 seasons in the NLL have been rather stable (besides a butt load of relocation). And more and more MLL players have started playing in the NLL during the MLL offseason. But I wouldn't be surprised if the San Diego team folds in a few seasons if the owner doesn't get his desired NBA team.

 

I could see both leagues becoming mainstream, but there's only room for one, since there's already 5 mainstream sports leagues in the US and Canada (6 if you count the CFL). I think the MLL has the greatest chance due to their growth and slow approach to 16 teams, at least compared to the MLS which started only a few seasons before it and is already pushing 24 teams. 

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Lacrosse in general has a long way to go. It's still viewed as a rich kids sport by many people. In addition to it not having a strong presence outside of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

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Lacrosse may need to look at the MLS 1.0 model as far as advertising and tv time. Being played during summer should help but it doesn't get as much help from tv as NCAA lacrosse does. 

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Of the two varieties,  I think field lacrosse has the better chance of breaking out, in the long term. Primarily because of only competing with baseball and soccer. The NLL competes directly with basketball and hockey, and partially with American football.

 

MLL really needs to get their act together, though. Last year's semifinals were hosted in Bridgeport and Minneapolis. They did almost zero promotion for this, and many fans of the sport, in and around those cities, didn't find out until it was too late. I found out the morning of, but it was too late for me to make the drive, from Bemidji. Not exactly the behaviour of a league that's focused on growing their game.

 

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Personally I hope it stays where it's at. Imho it's the only sport left with real people who work real jobs through the week. I would like to see the NLL grow to 12 or 14 teams. As far as the MLL, I'm surprised it hasn't folded yet.

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It won't.

 

I played the sport in high school, and I love it, but both leagues have tried expansion and failed. I was there for both league's push into the LA market, MLL's LA Riptide and NLL's Anaheim Storm. I started playing lacrosse in high school 13 years ago when it was considered a growing/rising/up-and-coming sport in SoCal. I'd say it's still considered that (growing) or maybe even capped in terms of its development.

 

It has its pockets around the country (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Denver, and I actually have some hope for the San Diego NLL team), but I think the sport and the leagues are just fine as they are. Any attempts to push it further again could backfire. No need to overextend themselves again.

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1 hour ago, Still MIGHTY said:

It won't.

 

I played the sport in high school, and I love it, but both leagues have tried expansion and failed. I was there for both league's push into the LA market, MLL's LA Riptide and NLL's Anaheim Storm. I started playing lacrosse in high school 13 years ago when it was considered a growing/rising/up-and-coming sport in SoCal. I'd say it's still considered that (growing) or maybe even capped in terms of its development.

 

It has its pockets around the country (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Denver, and I actually have some hope for the San Diego NLL team), but I think the sport and the leagues are just fine as they are. Any attempts to push it further again could backfire. No need to overextend themselves again.

It's no secret that i'm a big NLL fan  and I think that the expansion/return to Philly is a great move. I agree with your opinion though. It's why I've previously voiced my concern about the San Diego expansion. 

 

Time will tell but I suspect that a 10 to 12 league team in the areas that you have mentioned is their sweet spot......and there's nothing wrong with that.

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There's a lot of factors for lacrosse in order for it make it big IMO.

 

For starters, it's still a preppy white kid sport. I've played for years now, and I've played with the typical preppy douchebag who wears too much Patagonia and Vineyard Vines, has the flow, goes to some super duper preppy private school, and will buy his way straight through life because of his family's extreme wealth. And the sad thing is, that can apply to a lot of the lacrosse community. In order for it to grow, equipment needs to somehow be less expensive, as the sport itself is crazy expensive, and needs help reaching out to communities unfamiliar with lacrosse, not the Long Island-Pennsylvania-Baltimore areas. 

 

Also, lacrosse itself is a hard sport to get any TV time. Obviously because it's still a less popular sport than others, but it's also harder to watch on TV. If you made someone sit down and watch lacrosse for the first time without them knowing anything, they'd have a rough time knowing where the ball is and how the sport goes. When you understand it, lacrosse can be a high intense, fun game to watch, but it's hard to make it marketable due to how small it is still. The MLL is barely competitive and pays its players very little (We're talking 10-20-30k here), the teams practice only usually once a week, nothing about it is serious. The NLL is even less well-paying, and although I actually prefer watching it to the MLL, you can barely find games to watch. College lacrosse is the only thing the sport's got going for them.

 

As I've mentioned, lacrosse needs to try and grow out and expand. It's doing a relatively good job at doing that, it's starting to sprout on the West Coast, Colorado, and Texas, Utah is getting an NCAA program, so it's improving, but there still needs to be a lot more work to it. US Lacrosse and other organizations really need to endorse the sport to farther out areas as opposed to just keep on feeding it to the same dominant areas.

 

It also doesn't help that every few years or so there is some big scandal that breaks involving some lacrosse team. The Duke lacrosse team rape scandal left a huge mark on the sport even if they weren't found guilty, the UVA player found who murdered his girlfriend also didn't help, and other smaller scandals that leave local imprints. It leaves a strong douche-y reputation on the sport.

 

(As you can tell, I'm very passionate about this lol)

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I think one big issue that needs to be addressed is that it's possible to be a decent NCAA program and miss out on a tournament bid because of distance not just who you beat. 

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The Riptide and Dragons were done in more by the recession, than anything. I'm not positive either would have truly succeeded, but we never really got an opportunity to see.

 

San Diego seems to be a pretty sports hungry city, if their support of the Gulls is any indication. No football to potentially overshadow the first two months can't hurt, either.

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5 hours ago, BeerGuyJordan said:

The Riptide and Dragons were done in more by the recession, than anything. I'm not positive either would have truly succeeded, but we never really got an opportunity to see.

 

San Diego seems to be a pretty sports hungry city, if their support of the Gulls is any indication. No football to potentially overshadow the first two months can't hurt, either.

 

LA Riptide were also done in by playing at the StubHub Center's auxiliary track and field stadium...

 

It was like one of the most undersold things I've ever seen. Unless you already knew and were going to the game, you'd have no idea anything at all was happening. (I did get a hat and free beach towel that night, so, I'll always have those lol)

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The Ohio Machine just won the MLL championship and I doubt the average central Ohioan knows we have a team. They play in their own HS football like stadium that the town of Obetz built, which is pretty far from the center of the city, but it's at least off of 270. They used to play at Ohio Wesleyan's and Ohio Dominican's football stadiums, both are on the outskirts of Columbus. Wesleyan was well outside the outerbelt. 

 

They're just not well advertised and it never seems like many people are at their games. I want them to succeed, they seem to have good, likable players, they do lacrosse clinics for the high school kids, and their social media does a good job, but they have an uphill climb. I said this in another thread, but I think there's just too many entertainment options for a sport like that to break through into mainstream and I'm not just talking sports. 

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Let's be clear, there is almost no way lax gets on par with the NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, MLS, or even CFL.

 

When I say mainstream, I mean a general public awareness that they exist, and allows for a moderate following and stability. I think that MLL has the best potential, though they seem to be having difficulty making use of said potential. It's a shame, really, since I prefer field to box lacrosse (not that I dislike the NLL).

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Granted Lacrosse is HUGE in my home state of Maryland so it probably would have happened anyway, but in the last decade the sport has spread beyond the preppy white kid demographic. There are now youth and high school LAX teams in predominantly black Baltimore City and Prince George's County (borders Washington DC). My old high school has a LAX team now and the school is about 90% black. Even Morgan State University (HBCU in Baltimore) had a club lacrosse team when I was there in 05-06.

 

The more rural-ish western, eastern shore & southern regions of Maryland have taken to LAX as well. Culturally speaking those parts of MD can make you forget that you're in a Mid-Atlantic state. More of a small town in the south vibe in those parts. So just picture if LAX slowly became popular somewhere 100 miles outside of Nashville or Atlanta. That's sorta the situation there (feel like I'm not doing a good job painting a picture).

 

Like a said it's Maryland so an exception may have to be made, but the sport has grown beyond it's stereotype there.

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8 hours ago, BeerGuyJordan said:

Let's be clear, there is almost no way lax gets on par with the NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, MLS, or even CFL.

 

When I say mainstream, I mean a general public awareness that they exist, and allows for a moderate following and stability. I think that MLL has the best potential, though they seem to be having difficulty making use of said potential. It's a shame, really, since I prefer field to box lacrosse (not that I dislike the NLL).

Lacrosse as a whole is also divided between box and field.

 

Theres people(like myself) who wont watch field, besides sparingly. And LOVE box, but generally wont touch field.

 

There's people who think that only field lacrosse is the only real lacrosse.

 

It's like the rugby union v league divide. Need to treat it as two different sports, and see what we can do that is best for box lacrosse AND field lacrosse.

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Speaking strictly for field lacrosse. Whenever there is a professional league that mirrors the high school and collegiate game. 

 

And box needs to get into the high schools and college level, at the same level if not more so that the field game is. 

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On 9/17/2017 at 10:02 AM, 4_tattoos said:

Lacrosse in general has a long way to go. It's still viewed as a rich kids sport by many people. In addition to it not having a strong presence outside of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

 

Field lacrosse is viewed as a rich kids' sport, perhaps. Box lacrosse, where it's visible at all in the US, is almost precisely the opposite - a predominantly working-class sport which has also been embraced by the Iroquois nations (where the game originated centuries ago) precisely because they saw that the field game had been co-opted by the NCAA (read: an elite white institution). Box lacrosse's problem in the US is that it's hardly visible at all in places that haven't been exposed to the NLL, whose player base is overwhelmingly Canadian and Iroquois National.

 

That said, box lacrosse has long had a presence in places like Colorado and the Pacific Northwest, far from the traditional field strongholds. It has also made significant inroads to the Upper Midwest (particularly Minnesota and Michigan). It also has a large constellation of local and regional semi-pro and beer leagues across the US, most notably the 2-year-old Interstate Box Lacrosse Association which is emulating the Canadian Lacrosse Association model (and most of its rules of play), with a network of smaller statewide and regional leagues. (Minnesota just got an IBLA chapter this year and recently concluded its inaugural two-team best-of-seven "season", played before near-capacity crowds in de-iced high school and community rinks, whose champion Hastings will be playing at the IBLA Nationals in Denver in November against the champs from Colorado and Oregon. There are plans to add as many as four more MN teams in 2018 and perhaps more beyond that.)

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