Prospect Lacrosse League Aims to Start in 2013
from staff reports
The Prospect Lacrosse League, which aims to be the first professionally organized summer collegiate lacrosse league in North America, officially announced its presence Tuesday. The league, which will play its first games in the Summer of 2013, will consist of four teams in its inaugural season. All teams will be based in the Chicago and surrounding markets.
According to Joe Stefani, who will be the league's commissioner, the league will be made up exclusively of collegiate players with NCAA eligibility left and operate with the purpose of the development of future Major League Lacrosse (MLL) players as well as other leagues similar to how summer collegiate baseball does with the development of future Major League Baseball (MLB) players.
Stefani has vast experience in the operation and ownership of summer collegiate baseball teams, including the Rockford Foresters and DuPage County Hounds. Stefani also worked for the Chicago Shamrox of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) as Director of Public Relations and Marketing. In addition to Stefani, Ray Kincaid will serve in the capacity of Chief Operations Officer. Kincaid served as Director of Operations for the Chicago Shamrox as well as Assistant GM/VP of Operations at the Chicago Express of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
"This league has been on the drawing board for over a dozen and a half months," Stefani said. "Everyone involved in the development of this league wanted to make sure we not only had something that would truly benefit the players of this league, but also would be able to weather any storm thrown its way from an operational standpoint."
The Prospect Lacrosse League's inaugural four teams will all be owned by the league. Outside expansion with external ownership groups will not occur until the 2014 season. During the 2013 schedule, each team will play a total of 12-games over the course of nine weeks. A championship game will be played between the top two teams in the league.
In four weeks, all four teams will be announced along with their home facilities. Brand identities/logos are currently completed for each of the teams and websites are currently in the final stages of development.
All teams in the four-team league will operate just like minor league teams with ticket sales, sponsorships, concessions, merchandise, etc. The business operations of these teams will off set all costs to run each of the teams in the league with no fees for players to play on any of the teams.
"We want to focus on the quality of the players, not who could 'pay to play,'" Stefani said. "We want to have a mix between Division I to club players from all over the country. Ideally a good chunk of guys will be from the Chicago and Midwest markets because of the heavy growth of lacrosse over the last decade. Any players coming from outside of the Chicago market will be put up with a host family, just like minor league baseball teams."
In December 2012 the league will be hosting a player combine in the Chicago market with the location being announced sometime in the upcoming weeks. A total of 40 roster spots, which is one-half of the league's total roster spots, will be filled from the December player combine. There is a registration fee for the combine, however Division I players' registration fees are waived. For more information on the combine or about playing in the league, please visit the league's website at www.ProspectLacrosseLeague.com.