By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
This past weekend, I made the trek to Gillette Stadium to witness the start of the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL), as well as the second season of the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League (WPLL).
Both leagues enjoyed successful starts to their respective seasons, especially the PLL, which needed overtime to decide two of their three contests.
The PLL is a new men’s professional league that was founded by Paul Rabil and his brother Mike Rabil and is touring the country this summer with games being played in major cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles. The league consists of six teams and can be seen on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) or NBC Sports Gold.
The WPLL, which competed for the first time last summer, is also touring the country, but playing a shorter schedule than the PLL. They will, however, share the same field later this month when the two leagues collide at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Maryland.
WPLL consists of five teams and features some of the best women’s lacrosse players in the country, including Kaya Treanor, Taylor Cummings, and Kylie Ohlmiller.
Here are some thoughts from what I witnessed this past weekend from both leagues, specifically their social media presence, broadcasts and fan engagement.
The PLL’s Social Media Experience: For starters, I really enjoyed scrolling through the PLL’s social media channels this past weekend. I thought the content they produced was awesome. Even though I wasn’t there for every second of the first or second day, I felt their social media presence made me feel as if I was on the field competing with the players or cheering them on from the sidelines or stands.
The PLL’s Vlog, which is run by RJ Kaminski, is something I also really liked. Kaminksi’s videos were extremely innovative but also engaging, as well. I loved his interactions with fans in the parking lot to his chats with the players and former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi.
NBC Sports’ Innovative Broadcasts: Watching Sunday’s game between the Atlas and Redwoods brought back memories of what the network did when they produced the XFL. From micing-up players to watching Paul Burmeister interviewing those that were whistled for a penalty was extremely innovative for a television broadcast, but also more captivating than just showing goals, assists and replays over and over.
The NBC graphics were awesome, too – showing the line-ups, which look very similar to what fans of the National Football League (NFL) and National Hockey League (NHL) are used to seeing made it feel like a big-time production. And the Skycam, which provided another angle on the clears and goal-scoring opportunities was also a nice change from the typical side-to-side view.
Finally, I loved the interviews during the games, as well as the insight from players, too. Hearing what Myles Jones thinks about his upcoming opponent is a great way for NBC to bring its viewers even closer to the action, but also their favorite lacrosse players, too. And of course hearing Bill Belichick discuss his love for the sport and what position Tom Brady would play – goalie, for those that didn’t watch the interview – was something else I really enjoyed from Sunday’s broadcast.
WPLL on ESPN3: Having the WPLL’s games on an ESPN platform is an enormous victory for the league.
The WPLL deserves the same attention as any other professional league because it really does feature the best women’s lacrosse players in the country, and perhaps the world, too.
Fans of the game or perhaps general sports fans will certainly enjoy what they witness when they stream games over the next few weeks. Additionally, fans can watch games on their tablets or phones through the ESPN app.
The WPLL fan engagement: One thing the WPLL really wants to do this summer is to bring its game to its fans, as well as aspiring women’s lacrosse players, which they’re doing through clinics, including one this past Sunday, which was held at Gillette Stadium prior to the Fight edging the Pride, 6-4.
Engaging with new fans of the sport, as well as those that are playing, will certainly help grow the league’s recognition.
These are just a few thoughts from this past weekend, but I am certainly excited to produce more content on the PLL and WPLL over the next few weeks and months.