via Forbes.com by David Berri
Are players an investment or just a cost?
Should a new league focus on long-term growth or short-term profits?
This past week, Major League Lacrosse (MLL) offered an answer to these questions. On Monday the MLL announced a number of changes that the league says are “all designed to invest in its players.”In addition to expanding the schedule of games and increasing the league roster size, the MLL is also increasing the league’s salary cap. In other words, MLL players are receiving an increase in pay.
And this increase is being called an “investment.”
For those not familiar with the league, the MLL began play in 2001. Like we generally see with new leagues, the MLL has seen teams come and go. Across its first 18 seasons, there have been 22 different cities that have hosted teams. Of the six original teams in 2001, only the Boston Cannons are still playing. And of the nine teams playing in 2018, six did not exist in 2011.
Like the story of franchise movements, the attendance story in the MLL is also consistent with what we have generally seen in the first years of a professional sports league. From 2006 to 2018, 3.3 million people have attended an MLL game. With 701 regular season games, average attendance has been 4,660 fans per contest. And that number hasn’t changed very much over time. In 2006, average attendance was 4,295 per game. After peaking at 6.417 in 2011, average attendance was only 3,619 this past summer.
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