LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Premier Lacrosse League announced the schedule for their third season on Wednesday. The tour-based model includes stops in 11 major coast-to-coast markets.
The opening weekend for the eight-team league begins June 4th at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The season will also include an All-Star Weekend in mid-July at Earthquakes Stadium in San Jose, Calif., And a three-weekend playoff in Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, and the championship on September 19 at Audi Field in Washington, DC Further stations are Atlanta, Baltimore, Long Island, Minneapolis, Colorado Springs and Albany, New York.
“The front office, the coaches and the players are enthusiastic and ready to play,” said Paul Rabil,who co-founded the PLL with Brother Mike, in a statement, “Our inaugural 2019 season brought a new version of professional lacrosse to the world.”
The PLL said it will work with its event partners to ensure compliance with local and state health authorities and to provide best safety practices. These include seat capsules, social distancing, improved venue cleaning, mobile ticketing, hand sanitizing stations, and mask requirements for staff and attendees.
Similar to the 2020 season, the PLL will work with a committee of medical professionals to develop health and safety protocols for all players, staff and fans.The entire season is broadcast on NBC platforms. All games can be streamed live and on demand on Peacock. A full schedule will be announced at a later date.
The PLL will play its second weekend in June at Kennesaw State University’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium outside of Atlanta. The Rabils say they work with the local community and university on voter education initiatives. The league says it will donate a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to When We All Vote, an impartial nonprofit that is working to increase participation in elections.
“Democracy works best when every American voice is heard,” said Mike Rabil.“The PLL and professional sports leagues around the world often sit at the epicenter of community and connection. As part of the Georgian community, we are committed to working with organizations to improve voter registration and voter education. “
The PLL’s second season never started last spring. The league had to go into full swing to work out a workable plan after the COVID-19 pandemic brought professional sports to a standstill. The Rabils pondered about a dozen different scenarios, and after talking to broadcast partner NBC, league commissioners, and health officials, the PLL became the first professional league to choose a bubble-like tournament to determine a champion.
The PLL’s 16-day tournament last August at Zions Bank Stadium in Utah was played without fans and aired on NBC platforms during times reserved for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Players and staff have been tested for COVID-19 and quarantined during downtime. Paul Rabil said attendance for the summer tournament increased 22% during the PLL’s first 2019 season, and attendance for the critical 18-49 -year-old population group has increased by 37%.
In December, the PLL merged with the 20-year-old Major League Lacrosse and put the top players in the sport under one roof that can be expanded beyond this year’s Boston Cannons. The merger adds stars like Lyle Thompson,the leading goalscorer in College Lacrosse Division I, playing for the Albany Great Danes. Thompson was the first choice in the most recent draft of the PLL.
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