Major League Lacrosse is merging into the Premier Lacrosse League in an effort to create one collective American male professional outdoor lacrosse league, the respective properties announced on Wednesday.
Terms of the merger were not disclosed.
The PLL will immediately expand to eight teams, adding the MLL's Boston Cannons, who will be rebranded as the Cannons Lacrosse Club. The PLL will also retain the rights to the other five MLL teams for future expansion purposes.
The merger would appear to mark a significant moment in the history of the sport. The PLL, which finished its second season this past summer and was among the first professional sports leagues to successfully operate a bubble, has garnered significant attention in recent years not only as a result of its top-line talent but also due to its innovations on the television and business-sides of the sport.
“The unification of PLL and MLL puts the game first by providing our athletes and fans a single destination for the best lacrosse in the world, across every medium, coming this Summer 2021 on NBC Sports," PLL co-founder and CEO Mike Rabil said in a statement. "I can't think of anything better and more exciting for the sport."
MLL began its inaugural season in 2001 and recently underwent a leadership change in the spring of 2018 when Sandy Brown took over as the sport's commissioner. The two leagues have previously operated with different models for their season with the PLL utilizing a tour-based model while the MLL had its clubs based in particular markets.
Brown said in a statement that "this merger only benefits the future of the game, for it combines the history of professional lacrosse with an innovative approach that has already accelerated the game’s growth."
The PLL and MLL said that they have created an internal team that will oversee the transition, including front office, team and player orientation, and plans to develop youth lacrosse players in historically MLL locations.
The PLL said in a statement that it is preparing to begin its third season in the summer of 2021.