National Lacrosse League Kicks Off 32nd Season, Welcomes Joel Field as Broadcast Consultant
The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest professional lacrosse league in North America, kicked off their 32nd season on Friday, December 8, amidst growth and business interest, and great hope for additional expansion across the United States for the country’s fastest growing team sport. In addition, the NLL has welcomes Joel Field as a broadcast consultant.
National Lacrosse League Faces Off With 32nd Season Amidst Great Business Momentum, Expansion
“This will be a landmark year for the league, its partners, its leadership and most importantly its athletes, coaches and fans,” says NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “The interest in all we are doing; from our digital first stance to our careful but aggressive expansion plans to our amazing community programs designed to grow the game for all have created buzz around the NLL that hasn’t been seen before, and we are excited to continue to make news in the coming months as pro lacrosse, especially the exciting indoor game, moves to a level never before seen.”
Sakiewicz is now in his second year at the NLL helm after a long career in professional soccer, which included twice winning MLS Executive of the Year.
The 2017-18 season will begin on December 8 with the defending champion Georgia Swarm visiting the New England Blackwolves, the Toronto Rock visiting the Buffalo Bandits, and the Colorado Mammoth visiting the Vancouver Stealth. On Saturday, December 9, the Calgary Roughnecks visited the Rochester Knighthawks to complete opening weekend. All matches will be shown on NLL TV, the league’s award winning digital platform and CBS Sports Digital, with the Toronto vs. Buffalo matchup featured as the NLL Game of the Week live streamed on Twitter.
The offseason has already been one of the busiest in NLL history, with two franchises already on board for 2018-19; the San Diego Seals (owned by Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai) and the Philadelphia Wings (owned by Comcast Spectacor).
The response by new partners to joining the fast-rising group has been impressive, with the NLL targeting key geographic areas that have seen a huge growth not just in lacrosse, but in indoor (box lacrosse) at the grassroots, high school and even collegiate level. Those areas that have been targeted as expansion markets include the Washington/Baltimore corridor, the New York metropolitan area, the San Francisco/San Jose area, and Dallas, Texas.
Among the key measuring sticks for growth going into the season are:
STREAMING SUCCESS: The NLL adopted a digital-first approach last year. Its Twitter Game of the Week averaged 344,000 viewers in its inaugural season. Its own OTT, NLL TV channel boasts 25,000 subscribers. The NLL also recently announced a distribution deal with CBS Sports Live.
HOME GROWN GROWTH: More and more of the League’s players are familiar to U.S. audiences with 55% of roster players coming from American colleges. The season-opening rosters will have no less than 21 Native American athletes as well, more than all other North American sports COMBINED.
FILLING THE HOUSE: NLL attendance continues to grow, with preseason attendance this year up almost 20%, with a preseason record crowd of 12,857 in Calgary two weeks ago. The League’s average attendance last year of almost 7,500 per match trailed only that of the NBA and NHL in terms of professional indoor sports – beating out indoor soccer, indoor football and the WNBA. It marked the third straight season of attendance growth, directly relating to a 12% increase in net box office receipts in 2017.
INCREASED REVENUE: The NLL’s revenues grew by an impressive 11% last year. Key in that growth was the emergence of NLL TV, new league-wide sponsorships and increased ticket sales.
NEW PARTNERS: New business partners for 2017 both at the league and team level have led to a sponsor revenue growth of 295% from 2016 to 2017.
– CBS Sports Digital
– Covo Drinkware
– Signature Lacrosse
– Egalet Corporation
OVERALL GROWTH IN LACROSSE: The NLL success has been a key narrative in the overall growth of lacrosse again this year. The sport has seen 12 consecutive years of impressive growth with numbers increasing by at least 20,000 participants each year. The NCAA has seen an uptick of 33% in the number of teams playing the sport over the last five years while there’s been a comparable increase of 27% on the high school level.
National Lacrosse League Announces The Addition of Joel Field
(NLL), the largest men’s professional indoor lacrosse league in North America, welcomes Joel Feld as a broadcast consultant for the league. Within the league, Joel will be responsible for creating league wide production standards, shoring up current production technology and increasing the production value for the broadcasts and NLL Productions. In turn, Joel will be creating a roadmap for the future of NLL TV broadcasts.
Feld has devoted his award-winning career to the media industry. He is an accomplished executive, producer and advisor with broad experience in the sports and news broadcast, cable, emerging platforms and digital media businesses. Feld has held leadership positions in management, programming and production, content and program development, linear and digital content creation and syndication, acquisitions and negotiations, talent, talent development, operations and business strategy.
“We are excited to officially welcome Joel Feld as part of our broadcast team. With his wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry, we aim for a continued investment in our broadcast-digital strategy,” says Sakiewicz. “We will continue to focus on improving the quality and delivery of our great product to our fans.”
Feld has played key roles in building, launching and developing several sports television networks including, CTSV (now CBS Sports Network), NESN and ONE World Sports. He began his career at ABC Sports where he produced hundreds of live domestic and international events including, four Olympics, Monday Night Football, Monday Night Baseball, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, the America’s Cup, the World Cup, and the Tour de France. Feld also served as a senior producer and executive producer of ABC SportsBeat with Howard Cosell and as co-creator and executive producer for ABC SportsNight, the network’s late-night sports variety show that ran in 1987.
Field has also developed and produced numerous documentaries, specials and long-form content/scripted specials for CBS Sports, MTV, HBO Sports, and A&E. Feld also contributed to the launch of Fox Sports in 1994 and served as a producer on CBS This Morning Saturday when the show was re-launched in 2011.
Most recently, Feld served as Executive Vice President, ONE World Sports, a U.S. based national sports network delivering exclusive world-class events live from the U.S and around the globe. He was responsible for developing the network’s programming strategy, negotiations and business affairs, production, broadcast/technology operations, marketing and digital strategy. By the time of its sale, the network grew its distribution to 45 million homes across linear cable, satellite, broadband, OTT services, and social media platforms.