The National Lacrosse League will announce at 12 p.m. eastern time today that the league will announce Nick Sakiewicz the next commissioner, according to sources. Former commissioner George Daniel stepped down in November.
“I’m honored and excited to join a tremendous group of owners and lead the National Lacrosse League as NLL Commissioner,” Sakiewicz said in an NLL press release. “Similar to soccer 20 years ago, lacrosse is a dynamic and rapidly-growing sport amongst an incredible demographic in North America. The National Lacrosse League is celebrating its 30th anniversary season featuring the best players in the world and highlighted by some incredibly entertaining competition. I’m really looking forward to bringing my experience working in MLS to the NLL and helping everyone in the lacrosse community to grow the league and expand the sport.”
Sakiewicz was one of the original founders of Major League Soccer in 1995 and was the CEO of the Philadelphia Union from 2005 until recently.
Of interest is Sakiewicz being based in Philadelphia, a market that the NLL recently left. Sakiewicz is a two-time MLS executive of the year and he brought two soccer-specific stadiums to the league.
“The search for a new Commissioner included consideration of more than 150 candidates, all of whom had significant professional accolades and accomplishments in and out of the sports business,” said Steve Govett, Chairman of the NLL’s Board of Governors in the league press release. “Nick’s experience in helping to launch and grow Major League Soccer and several of its franchises was incredibly appealing, as was his passion for our product. His vision and expertise in league and franchise management, as well as his intimate knowledge of corporate partnerships and expansion, made him the ideal candidate to lead the National Lacrosse League and take it to new heights.”
He has been involved as a sports executive for 21 years and this is his first time outside of soccer. In past years under Daniel, the NLL has seen relocations away from Philadelphia, Washington state, Minnesota, and Edmonton (the 2015 Champion’s Cup winners).
There are two relocated teams this season, playing in Georgia (the Swarm) and Saskatchewan (the Rush).