NLL: Wild ride to come as league expands to Texas

Image by RJA1988 via Pixabay

Gather your lassos, get your spurs ready, and buckle up for a wild ride: the National Lacrosse League is coming to Fort Worth as the 14th team emerges in preparation for the 2021-2022 season. This will be the first time the NLL will have a team in Texas. Bill Cameron (majority owner) and Greg Bibb (managing partner) are hoping to bring their expertise and excitement to the NLL.

They shared their vision and logic via a phone call Wednesday afternoon. Cameron began by sharing his thoughts on the team’s entrance into the league.

“We are excited to be a part of this league… We are so impressed with everybody and their welcome,” he said.

One of the reasons why Fort Worth was ultimately chosen was its location. There is a huge growth of lacrosse in the area. Lacrosse is growing across the globe. It was made clear early on that the right place for team #14 was Fort Worth.

“First and foremost, Fort Worth is prepared for this endeavour. The league considered over a dozen areas where a team could be successful. At this time, Bill and Greg’s expertise, knowledge of the sports industry, having a top five market, [having a] solid geographic fan base, and a strong fan base sets the team up for success.”

This decision was not a spur of the moment decision. Bibb reminded that they “spent several years looking to expand [and the choice of] the National Lacrosse League quickly became clear.”  He added they are “super excited and looking forward to getting started.”

Both men come with knowledge on how to find success in the sports world. Cameron is tied to the Dallas Wings of the WNBA. He is also a partial owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bibb is the CEO of the Wings’ team.

Part of that success will carry over into this nameless Fort Worth team. The colours, mascot, logo, head coach, general manager and more will come later. Three things are certain at this point: where they will play, the need for grassroots, and what conference they will be in.

The Fort Worth team will enter into the 2021-2022 season in the Western Conference. The league made it clear that there will not be any changes to playoffs or the divisions this upcoming season.

They’ll play at Dickies Arena, which holds around 14,000 people and is well-prepared to handle a fiery fan base. In fact, both the majority owner and managing partner expect to fill the stands (and hopefully their roster) with grassroots players and coaches who will draw people to the game.

This fan base will hopefully include recreational players who start in elementary school up to and beyond college players. They are fully aware that 60% of the fans come from a non-lacrosse base. They are hoping that pulling in the right coaching staff along with key players from around the area will encourage people to support their team. They are also hoping that the league’s quick style of hard-hitting will resonate with fans of other sports (like hockey and basketball) who will then fall in love with the game.

And it would be remiss in this day and age if we did not mention the pandemic. They confirmed (along with the league) that their plans to get this team ready to go by 2021 have not been impacted by the pandemic. They also do not anticipate that there will be any issues getting this team ready to go.

The league supported this stating they “still fared fantastically well” reacting to the pandemic. They also stated they “could not be prouder of the people affiliated with the league who have had safety of the players and fans” in their best interest.

And although indoor lacrosse is not currently playing, the work has not stopped. The league mentioned new sponsors, new broadcasting information and new marketing. Look for more information about those items to be forthcoming. The league also mentioned they they have used this time up reflect on who we are and what the league stands for. This includes the diversity and engagement plans.

So saddle up—great things are coming from Fort Worth and the NLL. You’ll want to be along for the ride so you don’t miss the action.