With the National Lacrosse League (NLL) in just nine markets throughout North America currently, expansion is a hot topic. It may in fact be a necessity if the league wants to attract more media and major sponsors.
“We do feel we need to expand,” NLL commissioner George Daniel said to kick off the 2013 season. “We simply need more cities…”
So what’s the price tag on a new NLL franchise?
“The current expansion price is $3 million (US) Dollars,” NLL commissioner George Daniel tells IL Indoor.
As Daniel has further stated, however, the NLL is most concerned about finding the right ownership group.
*** EXPANSION HISTORY
The expansion price tag was once $500,000. June of 2001, the NLL then doubled its asking price to $1 million for an expansion franchise.
More recently, the published sale price for NLL franchises has been that $3 million dollar mark Daniel notes.
$3M was the PR price for league’s most recent but now defunct franchises in Chicago (2007 debut), New York (2007) – who moved to Orlando for one year in 2010 – and Boston (2009).
*** FRANCHISE VALUES
Regarding the sale of existing NLL franchises, NY Times reports Curt Styres paid $5.5 million for 60% share of the Rochester Knighthawks in ‘08.
Calgary’s 2011 sale price was undisclosed with the $3M expansion fee number being referenced again.
Mike Ozanian, who published the most recent NHL valuations for Forbes, says he hasn’t looked at the NLL but at most he would guess an NLL franchise’s value is 1x revenue.
Unfortunately, many NLL teams aren’t actually making money – admittedly.
And to open 2013, five of the league’s nine teams posted 9,000 fans or less for their home opener, disappointingly low.
See those opening weekend numbers here, with Minnesota coming in at 8,782 for its season opener in Week 4.
*** BY COMPARISON
Major League Soccer (MLS) seems to be the fastest growing pro sport in North America right now, and its franchises are reportedly going for $40 million.
MLS commissioner Don Garber, who had a 10-club league in 2001, has grown the MLS into a major force that features 19 teams today.
And a rep from the league’s expansion committee suggests MLS could grow to a 30-team league by 2022.
We’ll cover NLL expansion in our next ‘business time’ feature.
Those leagues have their own financial issues, too, with 83% of the NHL’s operating income coming from just three teams in Toronto, New York and Montreal.
13 of 30 NHL teams lost money last season, and eight NBA teams are losing money now, adds Forbes.An All-America at Simon Fraser and a decorated Jr. A player for Coquitlam, Kojima began covering lacrosse in 2003 and started working for Inside Lacrosse in 2007. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.laxfuj.com.
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