Major League Lacrosse
|Current season or competition:
2013 MLL season
|No. of teams||8|
|Country(ies)|| United States (7 teams)
Canada (1 team)
|Most recent champion(s)||Chesapeake Bayhawks|
|Most titles||Chesapeake Bayhawks (4)|
Major League Lacrosse, or MLL, is a men's field lacrosse league that is made up of eight teams -- seven in the United States and one in Canada. MLL is a semi-professional league, with players generally earning annual salaries in the $10,000 -- $25,000 range. MLL averaged 5,608 fans per game during the 2012 season.
The MLL was founded by Jake Steinfeld, Dave Morrow and Tim Robertson in 1998, and began regular season play in June 2001. Steinfeld is well known for creating the Body By Jake line of exercise equipment and videos. Morrow is a former All-American lacrosse player and the president of Warrior Sports.
The league was originally divided into the American Division — Boston, Bridgeport (moved to Philadelphia in 2004) and Long Island — and the National Division — Baltimore (moved to Washington after the 2006 season and to Annapolis after the 2008 season), New Jersey, and Rochester — from 2001 until 2005. The MLL played a 14-game regular season its first two years; in 2003, the schedule was cut to 12 games. The league's playoff format has the top teams in each division advancing to the New Balance MLL Championship Weekend, with two wild card playoff spots going to the teams with the best remaining records regardless of division.
MLL announced on March 9, 2005, that the league would expand to Los Angeles for the 2006 season, and that the team would play its home games at The Home Depot Center. AEG, Inc. was confirmed as the franchise's owner/operator. On July 2, 2005, MLL officials revealed that Denver, Colorado would also be home to an expansion franchise, with a team playing at Invesco Field at Mile High. The league subsequently added teams in the Chicago, Illinois and San Francisco, California markets, creating a western conference for these teams. MLL Western Conference play began with the 2006 season.
|Major League Lacrosse Progression|
|2001||6 teams||14 games|
|2012||8 teams||14 games|
In an effort to test markets as potential expansion/relocation candidates, the Philadelphia Barrage franchise played all of its 2008 "home" matches in other cities; Cary, North Carolina, Hillsboro, Oregon, Irving, Texas, St. Louis and Virginia Beach. In addition the Barrage's "home game" against Boston was played in Boston.
At the end of the 2008 season four teams (Los Angeles, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and San Francisco) folded due to financial problems thus forcing the MLL to form one conference. At the start of the 2009 season, the Toronto Nationals were added to the MLL after they bought the rights to the Rochester Rattlers. The Toronto team thus gained the staff of the Rochester team as well as the players, but the Rochester name and the team colors were left in Rochester for the possibility of a future team.
The Chicago Machine played the entire 2009 season as a traveling team testing expansion markets for the league, before deciding in 2010 that the Chicago Machine franchise would be moving to Rochester, New York. The new Rochester franchise played at Sahlen's Stadium, the same stadium the older Rochester Rattlers used at the end of their tenure in Rochester before relocating to Toronto, Ontario.
Expansion (2011 - 2020) 
On December 9, 2010, Commissioner David Gross announced that in February 2011, there would be two expansion teams created for the 2012 MLL Season. Also there would be two more expansion teams for 2013. The long term goal is to have 16 teams by 2020. There were nineteen sites identified as potential markets including Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
On January 21, 2011, League Commissioner David Gross announced that Charlotte, North Carolina and Columbus, Ohio had been approved to host expansion teams to begin play in 2012. For the 2011 season, the MLL had an average attendance of 6,417. Also in 2012, the commissioner also said the league would be adding two more games to the schedule, where eight teams will play fourteen games.
The list of 19 markets identified by Gross in December (not including North Carolina and Ohio where the 2012 teams are set to go) include, in alphabetical order: Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville (Tenn.), Orange County (Calif.), Orlando (Fla.), Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and Virginia Beach (Va.). The league has also examined the possibility of a team in either Portland, Ore., or Seattle. Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco, home of former MLL franchises Machine, Barrage and Dragons, respectively, are also on the list.
Format and rules 
The season runs from May to August. MLL rules that differ from traditional lacrosse rules include a two-point goal line 16 yards (15 m) from each goal, a 60-second shot clock, and the elimination of the restraining box. From the inception of the league in 2001 to 2008 there was a limit of three long-stick defensemen per team. Beginning in 2009, the league conformed to high school and college lacrosse rules and allow four long–stickman per team on the field at any one time. The shot clock was originally 45 seconds before it was changed to 60 seconds for 2005.
Television coverage 
ESPN2 has televised MLL games since the 2003 season, and in 2007, MLL and ESPN agreed to a television contract that will run until the 2016 season. In 2012, ESPN2 televised three regular season games, the All-Star Game, one semifinal, and the MLL Championship game. All 42 regular season games also aired on ESPN3. CBS Sports Network televised thirteen regular season games and one semifinal. In 2013, CBS Sports will show 20 live games. Also in 2013, the MLL and YouTube agreed to an exclusive fifteen-game schedule. Despite these contracts with ESPN and CBS Sports, MLL does not receive any money from the networks for these deals.
Current Teams 
Defunct Teams 
|Chicago Machine||Chicago, IL||2006||2010|
|Philadelphia Barrage||Philadelphia, PA||2001||2008|
|New Jersey Pride||Piscataway, NJ||2001||2008|
|Los Angeles Riptide||Carson, CA||2006||2008|
|San Francisco Dragons||San Jose, CA||2006||2008|
MLL Championship Games 
League officials 
|Gabby Roe||1999–2002||Executive Director|
|Matthew Pace||2002–03||Executive Director|
|David Gross||2003–04||Chief Operating Officer|
Main League offices 
See also 
- National Lacrosse League, the professional men's indoor lacrosse league of North America
- North American Lacrosse League, the secondary men's indoor lacrosse league of North America
- List of professional sports teams in the United States and Canada
- Wall Street Journal, Lacrosse Doesn't Pay the Rent, May 31, 2012, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303640104577436811966763578.html
- Lax Dirt, A look at the numbers behind The Major League Lacrosse League and National Lacrosse League attendence debate, Dec. 21, 2012, http://laxdirt.info/nll-news-mll-news/news/look-numbers-behind-major-league-lacrosse-league-and-national-lacrosse-league
- May, Shaun (2006), Slash Magazine, pp. 5
- "MLL Expansion". Major League Lacrosse. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
- "Overview". Major League Lacrosse. Retrieved 2006-12-02.
- "League announces expansion of rosters to 19 and addition of fourth long pole for 2009". Inside Lacrosse. October 22, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-10-25. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
- "MLL and YouTube Announce exclusive fifteen-game schedule". majorleaguelacrosse.com. Major League Lacrosse. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
- Ultiworld, Major League Lacrosse Commissioner Says Pro Ultimate Has A College Problem, Nov. 28, 2012, http://ultiworld.com/2012/11/28/major-league-lacrosse-commissioner-says-pro-ultimate-has-a-college-problem/
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