Goods Corner: NLL Expansion Interest

Goods Corner is a new weekly editorial from Jack Goods covering the latest topics of interest around the sport of lacrosse. You can get in on the conversation by writing in the comment section below or by hitting Jack up on Twitter @GoodsOnSabres.

In recent weeks there have been three big stories when it comes to future locations for the National Lacrosse League. Last week IL Indoor broke the news that Bruce Urban and the Edmonton Rush were in talks with a group from Saskatoon, although the Rush have claimed that the talks were only preliminary and reconfirmed their commitment to Edmonton. Then earlier this week Newsweek reported that three of the four groups bidding to redevelop Nassau Coliseum are interested in bringing an NLL franchise to the city. Although it may not be on the level the other two stories are when it comes to unpredictability, the Championship game being held in Langley has also brought the discussion of the NLL in Vancouver to the forefront once again.

This has lead to much discussion, mostly about the nature of each of these markets. Of course this does make sense, as when future locations of teams arise people will want to talk about the prospects of each of the areas. This has led to much negativity, as New York and Saskatoon probably weren’t on the tops of many people’s lists when it comes to places they’d like to see the NLL go to. However, it seems that most are focusing on the wrong side of the story.

The specific locations of investors is not the good news for the NLL. What’s exciting is that there are investors at all.

The NLL isn’t exactly the most appealing business decision in the world. Although the league does seem somewhat stable at this point, attendance was down in many locations this season and few franchises are really making much money. Despite that, there are people who want to get involved. For a fringe league that fans always have an underlying fear of folding all together, that is an incredible sign.

In the Edmonton Rush story, the topic of discussion turned to Edmonton vs. Saskatoon as markets. However, if the Rush do decide to stay in Edmonton that doesn’t mean the Saskatoon investors will suddenly disappear. There is someone who wants to bring the league to the province of Saskatchewan, and it doesn’t necessarily have to come through relocation instead of expansion.

In New York there isn’t just one person interested, but three out of four of the groups planning to renovate Nassau after the Islanders depart for Brooklyn are interested in the NLL as a tenant. These aren’t exactly prospective owners, but it is a really good step towards finding those owners and could mean they already know someone who’d be interested. The team could be one of the main tenants as the arena would no longer have an NHL franchise, which could give the owner even more power than other NLL franchises may have in their buildings.

Even if you don’t think these specific locations are the best ideas for the NLL, it has to get your hopes up that there are investors out there. The NLL is not dying, the well has not dried up yet. There could be even more interested investors in cities we haven’t even thought about. This is a good sign, no matter what way you spin it.

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