Lacrosse may not be the most popular sport in America, but this summer it may beat everyone else out for sheer business drama. The sport has been dominated since 2001 by an organization called Major League Lacrosse (MLL), and its most famous player was Paul Rabil. But Rabil was frustrated with his old league. So he hung up his cleats and, along with his brother Mike, decided to launch a competitor. Their new Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) kicks off on June 1, with games airing all summer long on NBC. They poached many of MLL’s greatest players and are pursuing a totally new approach to teams: Rather than have teams based in cities, the way MLL (and most major pro sports leagues) does, PLL’s six teams have no local identities. Instead, they’ll all tour the country together—arriving as a group in one city, playing each other, and then moving on. Rabil knows he’s up against a lot—but with the backing of investors, and nationwide exposure, he’s plotting a big future for his up-and-coming company…and his sport.
Where did your love of lacrosse begin?
I first got a stick when I was 12. My neighbor gave me his backup equipment, and I remember playing for the first time and being so bad that I wanted to quit. My mom would drag me to practice once a week until I finally caught on.
She had the wisdom to know that when a 12-year-old experiences a little bit of failure, t