Two days before the Premier Lacrosse League begins its third season at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., the league announced that the Kraft Group, led by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, co-led a new funding round for the league, along with Arctos Sports Partners and return investor Joe Tsai Sports.
The PLL did not disclose the round’s financial details, though league co-founder and CEO Michael Rabil said the money would go towards media, tech, partnership and youth lacrosse expansions. “Our mission is to trailblaze the future of professional sports,” he said. “By partnering with industry innovators and leaders such as Arctos, the Krafts and Joe Tsai, we are continuing to put the company in a strategic position to scale and grow the sport.”
Arctos co-founder and managing partner Doc O’Connor was previously on the PLL board in an independent seat; he’ll now take Arctos’ spot, and the league will plan to bring someone else in to fill his previous seat.
Tsai is a co-founder of Alibaba Group. The Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty owner, he also owns a National Lacrosse League franchise in San Diego and an expansion team coming to Las Vegas.
Last year, the PLL completed a merger with Major League Lacrosse, and this April it announced an exclusive streaming partnership with Peacock as part of a three-year agreement with NBC. The PLL is hoping to double its yearly revenues compared to 2019 as it returns to a touring format, with hopes to reach profitability by 2024. The PLL has leaned into NFTs and partnerships, including selling a presenting sponsorship to Ticketmaster.
Its existing investors include Raine Group, Brett Jefferson Holdings, CAA, Bolt Ventures, Chernin Group, Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment and Blum Capital.
“PLL’s momentum in fan engagement and business accomplishments over the last 18 months suggests a promising future for the sport,” Tsai said in a statement. “Our viewership and revenues year-over-year have been impressive.”