The MLL has tried venturing into California before, but the outcome was not so successful. The San Francisco Dragons and Los Angeles Riptide joined the league in 2006, but only lasted two seasons. That has many wondering if the league will ever return to the Golden State, especially as a part of their expansion plans in the coming years.
Only four MLL franchises have ever straight up folded, and they all did in 2008. To give you a little memory boost, the economy in the United States was being hit hard due to the recession. Many sports teams around all sports were experiencing financial difficulties, especially fringe sports like lacrosse. Not only did that hurt finances, but attendances as well. Los Angeles had the better attendance of the two, hovering around 4,000 to 3,000 people in their three seasons. San Francisco was slightly less, falling from 3,000 to around 2,000 over their seasons. Even at this point they would be around the middle of the league in attendance.
Lacrosse has grown in California, but professional lacrosse hasn’t exactly thrived in the state. The San Jose Stealth and Anaheim Storm had attendance issues as well. However the economy has gotten stronger, and the MLL is more stable than the MLL and NLL had been in the past.
If lacrosse does return to California, the question is where? Of the two cities that have been tried, Los Angeles seems to be the better option. Would a team consider returning to the Home Depot Center, home of the Galaxy and Chivas USA? It does have a good amount of seating, which adjusts from 18,000 to 27,000 people. However in the list of locations for expansion identified my Commissioner Gross San Francisco was on the list, not Los Angeles.
SoCal has been tested, but another option could be more northern. Aggie Stadium, home of UC Davis, is located in Davis nearÂ Sacramento. It seats 10,000 people, so it may be more reasonable for an expansion franchise. It was only built in 2007, so the facilities are in very good shape. However, it is a smaller market than the other two cities.
As I’ve stated before while talking about Seattle and Portland, a California team would most likely enter the league with a western wave of at least two or more teams.
Will we see a revival of the Dragons or Riptide in the recent future? Maybe, but its still quite up in the air. There’s nothing about the state that would really grab the league and pull it in, but nothing to really scare it away either. What do you think about the possibility of the league returning to the Golden State? Comment below with your take!