Upon officially launching the PLL, we learned a lot about the league. We learned who is playing, who the major financial backers are, what the schedule looks like, when the season starts and ends, whether there will be a collegiate draft, the list goes on. What we haven’t learned yet is where the 16 game regular season games will be played.
The PLL is breaking out a tour-based model, where the league and its 6 teams will travel across the country to compete at the highest level, while also growing the game. In this article, I’m going to predict the destinations (cities) and locations (venues) the PLL will play their 16-week regular season. This list is in no particular order and not predicting the locations on a week by week basis.
Taking a deeper look, we have to assume that the PLL will not be playing in venues currently being used by the MLL. That eliminates the following 9 venues:
- Shuart Stadium (Lizards)
- Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (Bayhawks)
- Harvard Stadium (Cannons)
- Bronco Stadium at Mile High (Outlaws)
- American Legion Memorial Stadium (Hounds)
- Fortress Obetz (Machine)
- Ford Center at The Star (Rattlers)
- Fifth Third Bank Stadium (Blaze)
- Florida Atlantic University Stadium (Launch)
Taking these venues out of the equation does not eliminate these cities. In fact, there is a strong chance the PLL will play a set of games in each of those cities. They’re all just too big of lacrosse hotbed areas and the PLL would be doing the spot injustice if they did not travel to those areas.
One thing that the PLL is looking into is playing in what are commonly referred to as “soccer-specific” stadiums. These are stadiums that have roughly 20,000 – 30,000 seating capacity. Over the years we’ve seen the NCAA attendance fall slightly but recently it’s been sitting around 35,000 for the semi-finals, which is easily the biggest day in lacrosse each year. The PLL will not draw that big of a crowd but with the household names and talent the league contains, each week we will see strong attendance numbers, especially given that the fans in these cities will likely only have one, maybe two chances to see our sports best play each year. We also need to take into account that through halfway in the MLL season last year, the league was averaging 2,689 fans per game.
Without further adieu, here are the 16 predicted destinations and venues.
- New York City – Wien Stadium (Columbia University): Hosted last year’s Ivy League Tournament. Capacity: 17,000 – Ideal location to attract fans from NYC, Long Island, Westchester, NJ, and CT.
- Washington D.C. – Audi Field: Opened this past July. Home to MLS D.C. United. Capacity: 20,000.
- Baltimore – Johnny Unitas Stadium (Towson University): Home of the Towson Tigers. Has hosted several MIAA High School Championships. Capacity: 11,198. Lacrosse’s biggest hotbed chooses a larger stadium in Unitas over history in Homewood (Capacity 8,500).
- Boston – Nickerson Field (Boston University): Home of the Boston University Terriers. Capacity: 9,871. One of lacrosse’s largest hotbeds gets a weekend right on the Charles River.
- Orlando – Orlando City Stadium: Home of Orlando City SC. Capacity: 25,500. Orlando is arguably the sports biggest presence in Florida. The Sunshine State should come out in numbers.
- Philadelphia – Talen Energy Stadium: Home of the Philadelphia Union MLS Team. Capacity: 18,500. Formerly known as PPL Park and notably hosted the ACC Tournament for a couple seasons.
- Dallas – Gerald J. Ford Stadium (Southern Methodist University): Capacity: 32,000. While SMU does not have an NCAA Lacrosse Team, their MCLA team has been a Top 25 mainstay. Lax is huge in Dallas and remember, everything is bigger in Texas.
- Toronto – BMO Field: Home of MLS Toronto FC and the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. Capacity: 25,000. It just seems right the PLL makes a trip up north. No better place to do so than in Toronto.
- Atlanta – Georgia State Stadium: Capacity: 24,333. One of the coolest potential PLL venues. The new Georgia State Stadium is via conversion of Turner Field, the former home of the Atlanta Braves.
- Columbus – Mapfre Stadium: Home of the MLS Columbus Crew. Capacity: 19,968. The MLL has had a strong presence in Ohio and it makes sense the PLL stops by as well.
- Chicago – Toyota Park: Home of the MLS Chicago Fire. Capacity: 28,000. Chicago once had an MLL team, who’s to say the Windy City cant fill up this larger PLL venue.
- Denver – Dicks Sporting Goods Park: Home of the MLS Colorado Rapids. Capacity: 18,061. This stadium also hosted the 2010 FIL World Games. Denver is the MLL’s best lacrosse community, they will fill up this venue.
- Salt Lake City – Rio Tinto Stadium: Another MLS Stadium, this time it’s the home of Real Salt Lake. Capacity: 20,213. Who cares though? Salt Lake City, also the home of the Utah Utes, the newest NCAA DI program. #SaltLaxCity
- Las Vegas – Cashman Field: This is one of the wildcards in this list. Capacity: 9,334. Home of the Las Vegas 51s of Minor League Baseball. Vegas is a growing market in lacrosse with top talent being produced every year.
- San Francisco – Kezar Stadium: Located right in Downtown San Francisco. Capacity: 9,044. Another bit of an outlier, but Kezar Stadium has some history with lacrosse when the Dragons of the MLL played there from 06-07. This stadium has also hosted NCAA games in the past.
- Los Angeles – StubHub Center: Home of MLS LA Galaxy and somehow the LA Chargers. Capacity: 27,000. This would also be a larger venue for the PLL but lacrosse in SoCal is huge. It seems that each year there are NCAA games out there and more players appearing on big time rosters.
As noted at the start, we see the PLL approaching several MLS stadiums as their seating capacities line up with the leagues hope for attendance. Let us know which cities and stadiums you think the league will go to, comment below or hit us up on Twitter or IG.