- Las Vegas has landed a yet-to-be named expansion team in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).
- The NLL plays box lacrosse (indoor lacrosse) and has thirteen current teams with two expansion teams yet to begin play.
- Las Vegas franchise owner Joe Tsai already owns the San Diego Seals of the NLL.
While the future of the Oakland Athletics as it relates to Southern Nevada continues to unfold, Las Vegas has landed another professional expansion team. The Las Vegas team will be the fifteenth franchise in the National Lacrosse League (NLL), the largest and most popular box lacrosse (indoor lacrosse) league in the world.
The NLL plays games in the Winter and Spring and has enjoyed very strong support from its fanbase. Since 2004, the league has averaged between 8,900 and 10,700 fans per game annually. The game is played on a turf surface that is placed over the ice on a hockey rink. The glass and rink boards are left in place. For more information on the NLL and the rules of box lacrosse check out this link:
The Las Vegas franchise has yet to be named and no word on where it will play. Since every other arena in the NLL has a capacity of 10,000 or higher that gives the team several options–T-Mobile Arena is better known as the home of the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL and seats 17,500 for hockey. The MGM Grand Garden Arena–home of countless legendary boxing events–is also an option–it would hold somewhere in the 15,000 range configured for box lacrosse. Right across the street, the Michelob ULTRA Arena (formerly the Mandalay Bay Events Center) currently serves as the home court for the WNBA Las Vegas Aces with a listed capacity of 12,000. Smaller venues that could accommodate box lacrosse are the Orleans Arena (hockey capacity 7,773) and the under construction Dollar Loan Center in Henderson. The Dollar Loan Center is the future home of the Henderson Silver Knights AHL hockey team and will have a capacity of just over 6,000. The NLL San Diego Seals played a one-off game at the Orleans Arena on February 1, 2020 in what was billed as the first ever professional box lacrosse matchup in Las Vegas history.
Billionaire Joe Tsai–co founder of e-commerce power Alibaba–is the owner of the new Las Vegas NLL franchise. Tsai also owns the NLL San Diego Seals along with the NBA Brooklyn Nets. According to NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz, there were several groups seeking ownership of the Las Vegas franchise:
“Joe has been nothing short of a spectacular investor in NLL. We’re ecstatic Joe won the day.”
Reports have attached a $10 million USD valuation to the NLL franchise fee likely paid by Tsai. Specific financial terms have not been released. Tsai has a whole host of ideas for the growth of the NLL:
“There’s a galvanized group of owners who feel very good about the league’s next five to 10 years. The league is looking for a major media deal. We can take the league to the next level in terms of national sponsorship. Crypto, sports betting—there are a lot of commercial opportunities the league can expand into.”
A greater focus on sports betting sounds like a ‘no brainer’ and particularly with a team located in Las Vegas. Lacrosse has occasionally shown up on betting boards with the NCAA playoffs the most frequently booked event. The pace of the indoor game would make it a natural for ‘in game’ play and the rest of the box lacrosse ruleset lends itself nicely to a variety of betting options.