During the summer of 1998, Jake “Body By Jake” Steinfeld was inspired to start a professional outdoor lacrosse league after reading a magazine article about the growth of the sport of lacrosse. Steinfeld sought out a contributor to the article, Owner and President of Warrior Lacrosse Dave Morrow, a leading lacrosse equipment manufacturer, to discuss formation of such a league.
In February 1999 Steinfeld and Morrow joined forces with Steinfeld’s friend and business associate Tim Robertson, Chairman of Bay Shore Enterprises and former CEO of the Family Channel, to form Major League Lacrosse, LLC, a Virginia limited liability company. In 2003, New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc. came on board as a Founding Member of Major League Lacrosse, as well as an Anchor Level League Sponsor.
Major League Lacrosse began play in 2001 to capitalize on the growing demand for world-class field lacrosse driven by dramatic growth in the U.S. lacrosse market. The MLL was praised and heralded for its on-field play, regarded as the best ever seen. With a year-on-year attendance increase, Major League Lacrosse has continued to lead the sport of lacrosse into the mainstream of competitive team sports.
MLL is comprised of eight teams across the US and Canada. The Boston Cannons, Chesapeake Bayhawks (formerly Baltimore and Washington), New York Lizards (formally Long Island) and Rochester Rattlers are original teams starting in 2001. The Denver Outlaws began play in 2006 as part of the League’s western expansion. The Hamilton Nationals (formerly Toronto) joined MLL in 2009 as the League’s first international team. The Charlotte Hounds and Ohio Machine began play in 2012 as a part of the League's expansion initiative to have 16 teams in the next decade. Continuing the expansion, the Florida Launch began play in 2013.
Current teams include:
Boston Cannons Florida Launch
Charlotte Hounds New York Lizards
Chesapeake Bayhawks Ohio Machine
Denver Outlaws Rochester Rattlers
Major League Lacrosse boasts the best 230 lacrosse players in the world. They hail from some of the top academic institutions, including Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Duke, and Virginia. MLL icons include Casey Powell, Jesse Hubbard, John Grant Jr., Mark Millon and Brodie Merrill.
The League also features current stars in lacrosse such as Paul Rabil, Ned Crotty, Brendan Mundorf, Brodie Merrill, Rob Pannell, Steele Stanwick and Matt Danowski.
The 2014 Major League Lacrosse season consists of a total of 56 regular season games running from April to August with the following league-run special events: The Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft (January 10), MLL All-Star Weekend (June 26), and the MLL Championship Game (August 23). The fourteenth season of MLL action begins April 26, 2014.
Major League Lacrosse has implemented some innovative dynamics to the traditional game of field lacrosse that bring the sport into the next millennium. MLL rule changes include the addition of a two-point goal line located 16 yards from each goal and a 60-second shot clock.
Warrior Lacrosse, Coke-Zero.
Brine, Cascade, POWERADE, Great Atlantic Lacrosse Company, Ford and Body by Jake Global.
A full range of integrated sponsorship packages are available. Partnerships can include league/team category exclusivity, special events rights, corporate branding on player uniforms, national TV commercial units and in-game TV features, field signage, SLASH Magazine ads, web site banners, tickets/hospitality, game footage, photo usages, player appearances, customized activation, and cross-promotional programs.
ESPN2 has been the national television home of Major League Lacrosse since 2003, when the two parties agreed on a two-year commitment. In 2004, ESPN aired the New Balance Championship Game, making it the first live national telecast of a Major League Lacrosse competition. Today, MLL and ESPN's relationship is the longest commitment that any television outlet has given to a lacrosse entity.
The partnership between the MLL and ESPN continued to grow when on June 9, 2007, ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature broadband network, streamed its first MLL game live from Sports Authority Field at Mile High. ESPN360.com went on to stream five more MLL events that season. In 2008, all 64 MLL games, including the All-Star game, both, Semi-Finals, and the NB ZIP MLL Championship Game were streamed live on ESPN360.com. After airing live, the games were archived on the website for a period of one week.
In 2008, MLL licensed its broadcast and digital media rights to Lax United Marketing (LUM). The 2008 season also marked the first time in League history that every regular season MLL game was broadcast live on regional sports networks throughout the country. Lax United Marketing syndicated every game not available on ESPN2, including the second MLL Semi-Final from Boston to top regional sports networks such as Comcast Sports Net, Fox Sports Net, Cox Sports, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Brighthouse, Charter Sports and CN8.
In 2010, ESPN2 aired a total of 6 MLL games, including live broadcasts of the All-Star Game (July 8) from Boston, as well as the first Semi-Final game (August 21) and the MLL Championship Game presented by Warrior (August 22) from Annapolis.
In 2011, all 36 regular season games in addition to the 2011 Sports Authority MLL All-Star Game (July 9) and the 2011 Sports Authority MLL Championship Weekend presented by Warrior (August 27 and 28), were broadcast in syndication. Every MLL game was streamed live on ESPN3.com in HD, and a total of six MLL games including the All-Star Game and the Championship Weekend were broadcast live on ESPN2.
In 2012, MLL announced a major television agreement with CBS Sports Network that brought 14 live games in HD to CBS along with all 18 episodes of "Inside the MLL.” Six games also aired live on ESPN2, bringing the total number of nationally televised live games to 20 last season. ESPN3 also streamed 46 live games on ESPN3.com.
In, 2013, MLL recently announced an increase to their television agreement with CBS Sports Network that brought 20 live games, up from 14 in 2012, in HD to CBS along with all 18 episodes of "Inside the MLL,” the league's 30-minute magazine show. Additionally, six games were aired live on ESPN2, which brought the total number of nationally televised live games to 26 in the 2013 season.
In 2014, MLL announced a record-high 24 live games to the CBS Sports Network. The league will also broadcast 20 games on ESPN3 and 16 games on YouTube.