In December 2020, the two leagues announced a merger agreement. Because professional lacrosse was exclusively played in these two leagues, it made sense to join forces.

So, let’s take a look at what the two leagues were like before the merger and what has happened since.

Major League Lacrosse

The league’s first season took place in 2001. In a summertime regular season, teams played anything from 10 to sixteen games. Following that, a four-team playoff for the championship trophy, the Steinfeld Trophy, named for creator Jake Steinfeld, takes place.

The MLL was unrivaled for professional talent for nearly two decades.

The league’s attendance peaked at 6,417 in 2011, and the average in 2019 was 4,587.

Premier Lacrosse League

The league’s inaugural season began on June 1, 2019, and featured a 14-week tour schedule in 12 major-market cities. Paul Rabil, an American professional lacrosse player, and his brother Mike Rabil started the league. The Chernin Group, The Raine Group, and Joe Tsai are among the investors.

The PLL has eight teams, each with a roster of 26 players. Rather than tying teams to a specific market, the league travels to 12 different “big market cities.” The season lasts 14 weeks, with 10 regular-season weekends, 1 all-star weekend, and 3 playoff weekends, and runs from June 1 to September 21, with no overlap with the NCAA or National Lacrosse League seasons.

The PLL had signed 140 players by October 2018. There are 86 All-Americans among the 140 players, 25 members of the US national team, and 10 past Tewaaraton Award winners. By December, the league had added 17 new players.

Why the Merger?

Lacrosse players aspire to reach the top level of the game and play professionally, but lacrosse fans simply want to watch as much high-quality lacrosse as possible.

Making professional lacrosse more accessible to spectators and players is one method to ensure that as many people as possible fall into both categories are satisfied. Lacrosse can only succeed if it is accessible and connected, and a merger was the only hope.

If the two leagues were to continue to compete, professional lacrosse may not have been viable in the future. There is only so much attention and money to go around, and when the leagues are forced to compete, there wouldn’t have been enough on the plate for everyone to eat.

However, if all are on the same team and working together to improve lacrosse as a whole with the NCAA and young leagues, lacrosse will be at a better place in the next ten years.

That is exactly why both the leagues decided to shake hands with each other.

The Aftermath

The Boston Cannons’ full history as a founding MLL franchise will be preserved by the newly rebranded Cannons Lacrosse Club. This encompasses a 20-year history as well as two professional lacrosse championships.

Following the merger from the MLL, only the Boston Cannons are currently featured.

The rest of the MLL teams would have to wait and hope for an expansion in the future that would include them as well.