Major League Lacrosse

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Major League Lacrosse
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2017 Major League Lacrosse season
Major League Lacrosse logo.svg
MLL logo
Sport Field lacrosse
Founded 1999
Inaugural season 2001
Commissioner David Gross
No. of teams 9
Countries United States United States
Most recent
Denver Outlaws (2nd title)
Most titles Chesapeake Bayhawks (5 titles)
TV partner(s) CBS Sports Network
Official website

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) is a field lacrosse league consisting of nine teams in the United States. Founded in 1999, the league's inaugural season was in 2001. MLL averaged 4,268 spectators per game during the 2016 season.[1] MLL's season runs every year from April to August, culminating in a four-team playoff.

MLL is a semi-professional league. MLL players reportedly earn annual salaries in the $10,000–$25,000 range;[2][3] players and staff generally hold other jobs;[4][5] and the league does not provide health insurance coverage.[6]


Founding (2001–2005)[edit]

Major League Lacrosse was founded in 1998 by Jake Steinfeld, Dave Morrow and Tim Robertson. Steinfeld is the creator of the Body By Jake line of exercise equipment and videos; Morrow is a former All-American lacrosse player and the president of Warrior Sports.

MLL began regular season play in June 2001 with six teams in the northeastern U.S. split into two divisions. The American Division included teams in Boston, Bridgeport CT, and Long Island; the National Division included teams in Baltimore, New Jersey, and Rochester. 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 MLL Championship Weekend, with two wild card playoff spots going to the teams with the best remaining records regardless of division.

Major League Lacrosse Progression
Year Teams Games Played
2001 6 teams 14 games
2003 12 games
2006 10 teams
2009 6 teams
2012 8 teams 14 games
2016 9 teams

Expansion and contraction (2006–2010)[edit]

MLL added four teams for the 2006 season, bringing the league's number of teams up to ten. The league expanded to Los Angeles for the 2006 season, with the team playing its home games at The Home Depot Center; AEG, Inc. was confirmed as the franchise's owner/operator. Denver, Colorado was also home to an expansion team playing at Invesco Field at Mile High. The league also added teams in the Chicago, Illinois and San Francisco, California markets. MLL created a western conference for these four teams, and the MLL Western Conference play began with the 2006 season.

In an effort to test markets as potential expansion/relocation candidates, the Philadelphia Barrage franchise played all of its 2008 "home" matches in five other cities; Cary, North Carolina; Hillsboro, Oregon; Irving, Texas; St. Louis; and Virginia Beach.[7][8][9] 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. Several of these teams had suffered from poor average attendance — New Jersey (1,920) and San Francisco (2,808).[10] This contraction forced the remaining six teams to form one conference.

At the start of the 2009 season, the Toronto Nationals bought the rights to the Rochester Rattlers. The Toronto team gained the staff and players of the Rochester team, 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 2010 season as a traveling team testing expansion markets for the league, before deciding that the Chicago Machine franchise would be moving to Rochester, New York.[citation needed] 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.

Expansion southward (2011–present)[edit]

During the early years of MLL, the league did not have any teams in the southeast. Commissioner David Gross announced on December 9, 2010 that two expansion teams would be created for the 2012 season. Charlotte and Columbus were approved in January 2011 to host expansion teams to begin play in 2012. Gross also stated that there would be two more expansion teams for 2013, and that the long-term goal is to have 16 teams by 2020.[citation needed]

For the 2011 season, the MLL had an average attendance of 6,417.[11] In 2012, the league added two more games to the schedule for a total of fourteen games.

Two more southern teams were added in 2014–15. The Florida Launch expansion team was awarded to Palm Beach County, Florida and began play in 2014. The league remained at eight teams for the 2014 season, however, as the Hamilton Nationals did not play the 2014 season. On August 8, 2015, Gross announced that Atlanta would be granted the league's next expansion team. They would start play in 2016 as the Atlanta Blaze and the ninth MLL team.[12]

LXM Pro Tour[edit]

On February 14, 2014, MLL announced a partnership with Adrenaline and the LXM Pro Tour, a week after the league announced their new equipment deal with STX.[13] The LXM Pro Tour is a lacrosse showcase, hosting events usually in non-traditional lacrosse markets. The deal moves LXM to the MLL off-season and allows players to participate in both MLL and LXM.

In the past the LXM had been known to lure some players away from MLL, including former Ohio Machine first overall pick Peter Baum and New York Lizards draft pick Sam Bradman.[14][15] Many of these players were signed on with STX, which led to their decision to play LXM instead of MLL.

Format and rules[edit]

The season runs from April 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.[16] The shot clock was originally 45 seconds before it was changed to 60 seconds for 2005.


Current teams[edit]

Locations of Major League Lacrosse teams.

Team City (MSA) Stadium Capacity Joined Head Coach
Atlanta Blaze Kennesaw, GA (Atlanta) Fifth Third Bank Stadium 8,318 2016 John Tucker
Boston Cannons Boston, MA Harvard Stadium 30,323 2001 Sean Quirk
Charlotte Hounds Charlotte, NC American Legion Memorial Stadium 17,000 2012 Jim Stagnitta
Chesapeake Bayhawks Annapolis, MD Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium 34,000 2001 Brian Reese
Denver Outlaws Denver, CO Sports Authority Field at Mile High 76,125 2006 B.J. O'Hara
Florida Launch Boca Raton, FL (Miami) Florida Atlantic University Stadium 29,419 2014 Tom Mariano
New York Lizards Hempstead, NY (New York) James M. Shuart Stadium 11,929 2001 Joe Spallina
Ohio Machine Obetz, OH (Columbus) Fortress Obetz 6,500 2012 Bear Davis
Rochester Rattlers Rochester, NY Capelli Sport Stadium 13,768 2001 Tim Soudan

Former teams[edit]

Team City Joined Defunct Notes
Chicago Machine Chicago, IL 2006 2010 Played final season as a traveling team
Hamilton Nationals Hamilton, ON 2009 2014[17] Toronto Nationals 2009–2010
Philadelphia Barrage Philadelphia, PA 2001 2008 Originally Bridgeport Barrage, 2001–2003; played final season as a traveling team.
New Jersey Pride Piscataway, NJ 2001 2008 Also played in Montclair, NJ and Bridgewater, NJ
Los Angeles Riptide Carson, CA 2006 2008
San Francisco Dragons San Francisco, CA 2006 2008 Played final season in San Jose, CA

Television coverage[edit]

ESPN2 televised MLL games from the 2003 season until the 2012 season. In 2012, ESPN2 televised three regular season games, the All-Star Game, one semifinal, and the MLL Championship game. MLL games have not been regularly shown on ESPN2 since 2012, however, due to low ratings.[18]

All 42 2012 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.[19] Despite these contracts with ESPN and CBS Sports, MLL does not receive any money from the networks for these deals.[20]

Previously, Fox Sports Net televised games in 2001 and 2002. Universal Sports broadcast playoff games not on ESPN in 2009, and carried a Game of the Week in 2010.

Championship games[edit]

Season Champion Score Runner-up Venue Location Attendance Game MVP
2001 Long Island Lizards 15–11 Baltimore Bayhawks Kennedy Stadium Bridgeport, CT 6,745 Paul Gait
2002 Baltimore Bayhawks 21–13 Long Island Lizards Columbus Crew Stadium Columbus, OH 5,596 Mark Millon
2003 Long Island Lizards 15–14 (OT) Baltimore Bayhawks Villanova Stadium Villanova, PA 6,593 Kevin Lowe
2004 Philadelphia Barrage 13–11 Boston Cannons Nickerson Field Boston, MA 8,279 Greg Cattrano
2005 Baltimore Bayhawks 15–9 Long Island Lizards Nickerson Field Boston, MA 6,829 Gary Gait
2006 Philadelphia Barrage 23–12 Denver Outlaws The Home Depot Center Carson, CA 5,374 Roy Colsey
2007 Philadelphia Barrage 16–13 Los Angeles Riptide PAETEC Park Rochester, NY 5,288 Matt Striebel
2008 Rochester Rattlers 16–6 Denver Outlaws Harvard Stadium Boston, MA 8,481 Joe Walters
2009 Toronto Nationals 10–9 Denver Outlaws Navy-Marine Corps Stadium Annapolis, MD 7,003 Merrick Thomson
2010 Chesapeake Bayhawks 13–9 Long Island Lizards Navy-Marine Corps Stadium Annapolis, MD 6,445 Kyle Hartzell
2011 Boston Cannons 10–9 Hamilton Nationals Navy-Marine Corps Stadium Annapolis, MD 5,027 Jordan Burke
2012 Chesapeake Bayhawks 16–6 Denver Outlaws Harvard Stadium Boston, MA 7,384 Ben Rubeor
2013 Chesapeake Bayhawks 10–9 Charlotte Hounds PPL Park Chester, PA 3,892 John Grant Jr.
2014 Denver Outlaws 12–11 Rochester Rattlers Fifth Third Bank Stadium Kennesaw, GA 8,149 John Grant Jr.
2015 New York Lizards 15–12 Rochester Rattlers Fifth Third Bank Stadium Kennesaw, GA 8,674 Paul Rabil
2016 Denver Outlaws 19-18 Ohio Machine Fifth Third Bank Stadium Kennesaw, GA 5,522 Eric Law

Performance by team[edit]

Italics indicates a defunct team

Team Champions Winning Years
Chesapeake Bayhawks 5 2002, 2005, 2010, 2012, 2013
New York Lizards 3 2001, 2003, 2015
Philadelphia Barrage 3 2004, 2006, 2007
Denver Outlaws 2 2014, 2016
Boston Cannons 1 2011
Rochester Rattlers 1 2008
Toronto Nationals 1 2009


Season Teams Average
High Low Ref
2006 10 4,295 11,634 (Denver) 2,202 (Chicago) [21]
2007 10 4,429 10,592 (Denver) 2,243 (Chicago) [22]
2008 10 4,515 10,853 (Denver) 1,920 (N. Jersey)1 [10]
2009 6 5,557 10,127 (Denver) 2,569 (Chicago)2 [23]
2010 6 5,278 10,778 (Denver) 2,729 (Hamilton) [24]
2011 6 6,417 12,331 (Denver) 1,214 (Hamilton) [25]
2012 8 5,609 9,648 (Boston) 1,838 (Hamilton)3 [25]
2013 8 5,069 9,466 (Denver) 1,991 (Rochester) [26]
2014 8 4,759 10,383 (Denver) 1,204 (Florida) [27]
2015 8 4,384 9,502 (Denver) 1,187 (Rochester) [28]
2016 9 4,268 9,390 (Denver) 1,456 (Rochester) [1]
2017 9 3,844 9,212 (Denver) 1,586 (Charlotte) [1]
  1. New Jersey folded after the 2008 season.
  2. Chicago relocated after the 2009 season, and then folded after the 2010 season.
  3. Hamilton has been inactive since the 2014 season.

League officials[edit]

Name Years Title
Gabby Roe 1999–2002 Executive Director
Matthew Pace 2002–03 Executive Director
David Gross 2003–04 Chief Operating Officer
2004–2017[29] Commissioner

Main offices[edit]

League sponsors[edit]

  • Equipment Suppliers
    Warrior, Brine, STX, Maverick, Cascade[30]
  • Mesh Suppliers
    East Coast Dyes, Throne Lacrosse, A&R, StringKing[30]
  • Apparel
    Adrenaline, New Balance, Tomahawk Shades[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Major League Lacrosse - attendance | Pointstreak Sports Technologies". 2014-02-04. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  2. ^ "The pro athletes with full-time day jobs", CNN Money, Ahiza Garcia, September 28, 2015. ("The average for all players falls somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 . . . It's not like we're negotiating for our annual salary as pros," Schmidt said. "It's more a summer part-time job.")
  3. ^ "Lacrosse Doesn't Pay the Rent". The Wall Street Journal. May 31, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2013. ("The players, many recently out of college, generally practice once a week during the summer months . . . They make between $10,000 and $25,000 per season. This, of course, doesn't pay the bills for the year. MLL players are part-time professional athletes. Many of them have day jobs . . .")
  4. ^ "Exhausting travel and no pay: Major League Lacrosse players stick with it", Sporting News, August 16, 2014. (“You have to do something else, because you can’t live off the pay you get paid in Major League Lacrosse,” Schmidt said. “It’s not to a point yet where the teams are making enough money that you can play pro lacrosse year round.")
  5. ^ Jr, Ralph Gardner. "The Sport of Scholarships". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2015-08-27. 
  6. ^ [ 2013 MLL Player Handbook], Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  7. ^ May, Shaun (2006), Slash Magazine, pp. 5
  8. ^ "MLL Expansion". Major League Lacrosse. Retrieved 2007-10-11. 
  9. ^ "Overview". Major League Lacrosse. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  10. ^ a b "LEAGUE ATTENDANCE". Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  11. ^ "Major League Lacrosse – attendance | Pointstreak Sports Technologies". Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  12. ^ MLL Communications (August 7, 2015). "Major League Lacrosse Announces Newst Expansion Team: Atlanta Blaze". Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  13. ^ "MLL Partners with Adrenaline, LXM Pro Tour". Lacrosse Magazine. 2014-02-13. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  14. ^ "Former Tewaaraton Trophy Winner Peter Baum Signs With LXM". Inside Lacrosse. 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  15. ^ "Bradman Signs Three Year Deal with LXM". In Lacrosse We Trust. 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  16. ^ "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 October 25, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  17. ^ "Florida Launch Set For 2014 MLL Debut; Hamilton Nationals Not Competing in '14". Retrieved 2014-02-13. 
  18. ^ "Devitte: MLL Week Three, The Numbers Game, Franchise Ranks". Inside Lacrosse. 2015-04-28. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  19. ^ "MLL and YouTube Announce exclusive fifteen-game schedule". Major League Lacrosse. Retrieved April 22, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Major League Lacrosse Commissioner Says Pro Ultimate Has A College Problem". Ultiworld. 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  21. ^ "LEAGUE ATTENDANCE". Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  22. ^ "LEAGUE ATTENDANCE". Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  23. ^ "LEAGUE ATTENDANCE". Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  24. ^ "Major League Lacrosse Sets Regular-Season Attendance Mark - SportsBusiness Daily | SportsBusiness Journal | SportsBusiness Daily Global". SportsBusiness Daily. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  25. ^ a b "MLL Attendance Down 12.6% From Record-Setting Figure Last Season - SportsBusiness Daily | SportsBusiness Journal | SportsBusiness Daily Global". SportsBusiness Daily. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  26. ^ "LEAGUE ATTENDANCE". Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  27. ^ "LEAGUE ATTENDANCE". Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  28. ^ "LEAGUE ATTENDANCE". Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  29. ^ By: MLL Communications (2016-12-23). "David Gross to Step Down as Commissioner After 2017 Seas". Major League Lacrosse. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  30. ^ a b c "MLL Sponsors". Major League Lacrosse. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 

External links[edit]