The NLL and PLPA have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement. Thus far, the two sides have been unable to come to an agreement which suddenly has the beginning of the 2019 season in peril. ILWT will have more on the negotiations in the coming days. The following is a statement released by the NLL on November 13:
The League has been negotiating with the Professional Lacrosse Players Association (PLPA), which is the exclusive bargaining agent of our players, and we have always comported ourselves in a professional, above board and good faith manner.
We believe we must create a partnership for growth with the players, but we must grow together with a strategy that fits within a reasonable business model. A guaranteed 400% increase in expenses without a corresponding guaranteed revenue increase is not something as stewards of the league we should be doing.
We have put a very good and fair offer on the table, which includes a 25% increase in salary and benefits for the players. It is a significant improvement from where the players were at the beginning of their last employment agreement and a testament to our ownership’s commitment to continuing to invest heavily in our business to grow the League.
Additionally, in order to address the concerns expressed by our players that they not be left behind as the League grows, as well as our owners’ desire to share in lacrosse related revenues including team generated revenues such as parking, food and beverage and merchandise concessions, the League proposed a fair calculation of bonuses to be paid to the players based on attendance growth plus a percentage increase each year to account for growth in all those attendance related revenue streams. That, combined with the fact the players already receive a percentage share of all League revenues including, national sponsorships, television, expansion (which no other league shares with their players) and even payments for an All Star Game, regardless of whether an All Star game is even played, we believe the current offer on the table for the players is extremely fair and generous given where the League has come in a short 35 months since new management took over.
We are running a business which is growing successfully. This nascent growth will only continue if ownership, management, and players all work to achieve it.
We must come together to collectively grow the game. This is a long-term proposition to make the National Lacrosse League the preeminent league of choice to propel our world’s best lacrosse players to new levels of brand recognition and relevance. We, along with the players, have built a strong foundation to position the sport for continued success, but the work must continue in a realistic fashion. As stewards of the League, we must remain fiscally responsible and employ a business model focused on continued growth for the success of all involved, including the players today and the players in the future.
At this point, we are extremely disappointed that we have not reached a fair and equitable agreement for both the NLL and the players.
We continue to be available and open to meet with the PLPA to resolve this issue in earnest and hope we can get back to playing lacrosse and providing you, the fans, the best entertainment experience in professional sports. Thank you for your patience.