In a deal that adds another sport’s worth of inventory to the ESPN+ catalogue, ESPN announced a new multiyear deal with the National Lacrosse League.
The deal is exclusive in the United States and worldwide with the exception of Canada. The NLL has actually been on hiatus since the 2019 season due to the pandemic, but will resume with a new season in December. It’s been around for decades, and while lacrosse is certainly not on the level of the major sports in terms of American consciousness and fan interest, there is absolutely a large lacrosse base, albeit a somewhat regional one. (If you’ve spent any time adjacent to a prep school, you’re very aware of this already.)
According to ESPN’s announcement, the deal will see at least 10 games carried on linear ESPN networks every season, with the other contests being available on ESPN+. (If you’re a Canadian lacrosse fan, you can catch the action on TSN.)
All NLL games will be carried on an ESPN network or platform. ESPN linear networks – with a minimum of 10 live games annually – and ESPN+ will combine to carry up to 139 games exclusively each year. It will be the largest number of live televised games in the history of the league.
“We are so proud, honored and excited to work with ESPN and ESPN+ in this unprecedented landmark announcement for the NLL. Never before in the 35-year history of the league have fans, sponsors, teams and players had this type of access and exposure across the United States,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “While we, our sport and the industry continue to focus on digital native fans, we will also have the benefit of expanded reach through live distribution on ESPN linear networks. We’ve been steadily building on our media strategy and towards this kind of distribution over the last few years and are excited about the momentum an announcement like this generates heading into NLL Faceoff Weekend, December 3-4.”
“We’re thrilled to reach this new multi-year rights agreement with the National Lacrosse League, adding to our already extensive commitment to the sport of lacrosse on ESPN platforms. The NLL features elite players competing in an exciting and fast-paced game that we look forward to showcasing across ESPN and ESPN+ in the years ahead,” said Dan Margulis, Senior Director, Programming & Acquisitions, ESPN.
The NLL resumes the weekend of December 3rd and 4th, with a full broadcast schedule arriving in the near future.