Major League Lacrosse Commissioner David Gross today announced the addition of the league’s ninth and newest team, the Atlanta Blaze. Based in Kennesaw, Georgia, the Atlanta Blaze will join MLL league play in the 2016 season.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Atlanta Blaze into MLL. This is a market we’ve spent quite a bit of time in over the past few years and know the fans are hungry for professional lacrosse,” said Gross, commissioner of the MLL. “We are sure they are going to love watching the Atlanta Blaze play.”
In a press conference on Friday, Gross and team executives announced the new name, Blaze logo, ownership structure and commitment to bring the best lacrosse to Atlanta. In addition, the team announced a plan for free home-game tickets for all local firefighters.
“Given the success of last year’s MLL Championship and the tremendous amount of growth around lacrosse in the region – there is a lot of excitement around the sport in Atlanta right now,” said Dan Corso, executive director of the Atlanta Sports Council. “We look forward to working with our great partners around the community and MLL, to support the new Atlanta team and help them get acclimated to their new home.”
Gainesville, Florida, builder and developer Peter Trematerra is the majority owner of the Blaze and is in discussions with potential local Atlanta minority owners. Longtime NCAA and MLL referee and former NCAA lacrosse coach, Kevin O’Leary will serve as team president.
“Peter and I are ecstatic about the Blaze and bringing professional lacrosse to Atlanta,” O’Leary said. “We know Atlanta sports fans are passionate and we can’t wait to see them out in full force as we start the 2016 season.”
Atlanta and Fifth Third Bank Stadium are no strangers to Major League Lacrosse play. On Saturday, the venue will again play host to the MLL championship game as it did in 2014. The 8,300-seat home of Kennesaw State University’s collegiate athletic programs has proven to be a perfect venue for the sport of lacrosse.
“We are delightedto welcome the Blaze to its new home, Fifth Third Bank Stadium,” said Hal Clemmer, president and CEO, Fifth Third Bank Georgia. “As more teams, promoters and fans discover this world-class venue, we will celebrate with our partners at Kennesaw State University, Cobb County and the state of Georgia.”
“It is rewarding to be a part of the start of a brand new Major League Lacrosse team. This is the culmination of a lot of effort by a lot of people to bring the best quality lacrosse to Atlanta,” said Marty S. Elliot, general manager, Fifth Third Bank Stadium. “Our stadium is a great venue to showcase America’s fastest growing sport and we are thrilled to be the home field of the Atlanta Blaze. The fans are going to love it here as much as the team.”
The addition of the Atlanta Blaze to the MLL will be celebrated during the 2015 Championship game between the New York Lizards and Rochester Rattlers on August 8th. CBS Sports Network will televise the game live from Fifth Third Bank Stadium at 7 pm EST. Fans will be able to put down a $20 deposit for season tickets at www.AtlantaBlaze.com/tickets. Those fans who make a deposit while at the MLL Championship will receive an Atlanta Blaze t-shirt. Fans interested in suite tickets for Atlanta Blaze home games can contact Maggie Gendernalik at 470-578-7990.