by Jesse Liptzin, special to The Daily Payoff
For the first time in 2020, a Men’s Professional Sports League in North America has added a new team. The National Lacrosse League is going to be expanding into Fort Worth Texas with the announcement coming this past Wednesday by Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz and the DFW region-based ownership group in Greg Bibb and Bill Cameron, two people very experienced in owning a sports franchise.
“We welcome Fort Worth as our 14th team and are excited to be working with a first-class organization led by Bill Cameron, Greg Bibb, and the leadership at Dickies Arena, one of the premier state-of-the-art facilities in the United States,” Sakiewicz said in a media teleconference announcing the addition of the franchise.
Bibb and Cameron also are part owners in the highly successful WNBA team, the Dallas Wings. The two businessmen have yet to release a name or team colors, but say it will have something to do with Fort Worth and the area.
“We are committed to an identity that has a Forth Worth bent, but also something that is a little untraditional,” Bibb said.
This is the NLL’s second team in the Southern part of America joining the Georgia Swarm. The team won’t officially start play for another 18 months (2021-22 season), but this isn’t unusual as the NLL has a rule, new teams need at least 12 months before actual play can begin.
The new team will be playing at Dickies Arena which recently opened in 2019.
“Dickies Arena is excited to add the NLL to its event list,” said TDMC’s Matt Homan, President and General Manager of Dickies Arena. “We believe there is a solid ownership team along with the strength of the NLL. We are looking forward to working with Bill and Greg’s team locally to make sure that the Fort Worth community has a long term franchise.”
This was interesting because even though the NLL has never had a team in Texas many lacrosse teams in other leagues have failed in the area. However, Forth Worth is the 13th largest city in America and hosts plenty of sporting events between NASCAR, Gymnastics, and more.
“Fort Worth is a world-class sports destination and we are excited to welcome the National Lacrosse League franchise to our community and our spectacular new Dickies Arena,” said Jason Sands, Director, Fort Worth Sports Commission.
The NLL is the largest and longest-running professional lacrosse league so expanding the number of teams is nothing new to them. Just after the last team was added two conferences were formed. With the new addition, the 14 teams may transition into three conferences.
“In all likelihood Fort Worth will be the only expansion team headed into the following season, although you never know with us,” Sakiewicz said. “Sometimes we have been known to add two teams at a time.”
News on the 2020 NLL draft and other important information having to do with the 35th NLL season will be announced later this year.