The National Lacrosse League has retained CAA to head its search for a new commissioner, according to a person familiar with the matter who was granted anonymity because the deal is private. The agency’s executive search arm, led by Joe Becher, will work with the NLL Board of Governors to fill the role, which will officially open when deputy commissioner Jessica Berman departs later this month. Berman is currently serving as the league’s interim leader. Both CAA and the NLL declined to comment.
The indoor lacrosse league lost both its two top executives in a matter of weeks—commissioner Nick Sakiewicz stepped down in February to join the Arizona Coyotes front office while Berman was hired in March as the next NWSL commissioner.
Sakiewicz’s departure left a void many assumed Berman would fill after three years as second-in-command. Instead, her four-year term as the women’s soccer commissioner begins April 20.
The league expects to hire a new commissioner in the coming months but no timeline has been set. CAA will only lead the search for the commissioner, who will then make front office hires to fill the deputy commissioner role and other open positions including a head of marketing.
The league is about to enter its expanded postseason push, with a seven-week playoff slate beginning May 5 and running through June 20. Matt Hutchings, who serves as COO of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (which owns the NBA’s Nuggets, NHL’s Avalanche, MLS’ Rapids and the NLL’s own Colorado Mammoth) and chairman of the NLL board, will assume leadership of the league through the end of the season.
Hutchings will work with the existing senior staff and the board on all operational and business decisions until the commissioner role is filled.
Sakiewicz took over as commissioner in 2016 after an accomplished career in Major League Soccer. The NLL saw significant commercial development under Sakiewicz and Berman. Revenue grew 700% over the last five seasons and franchise values followed suit, as did expansion. The NLL now has 14 teams across the United States and Canada, with a 15th club set to debut in Las Vegas next season. Sakiewicz also negotiated pair of record broadcast agreements for the NLL during his tenure, including its current multiyear deal with ESPN and TSN (the largest in the league’s 36-year history) that began in December 2021.
CAA has been busy itself, making a massive acquisition of ICM Partners late last year.
(This story was updated in the first paragraph to note the source and the lack of comments from the organizations involved.)