FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG WELCOMES FIRST PROFESSIONAL LACROSSE FRANCHISE TO NEW YORK CITY
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and National Lacrosse League (NLL) Commissioner Jim Jennings today announced that New York City was awarded its first-ever professional lacrosse franchise. The team will begin play in the 2007 NLL season and host a minimum of four games at Madison Square Garden. Prior to its inaugural season, the team will conduct a contest on their website www.NewYorkNLL.com, which will allow fans to suggest and vote on the team name. In bringing professional indoor lacrosse to the largest metropolitan area in the United States, the league expands its membership to 13 teams across the U.S. and Canada. Principal Owner Gary Rosenbach and Team President Richard Ullmann, Sports Commissioner Kenneth J. Podziba, and Public Schools Athletic league (PSAL) lacrosse players including athletes from Midwood High School's 2006 City Championship team attended the announcement held at East River Park in Lower Manhattan.
"It is my great pleasure to present New York City's first professional lacrosse team," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Showcasing lacrosse on the world's greatest stage here in New York City will enhance its national visibility and help it remain the fastest growing sport in America. Lacrosse offers exciting opportunities for our youth as participants and fans, and the new professional team will assist in developing PSAL teams and grassroots programs in the area. The New York City franchise is dedicated to ensuring that every fan has the chance to experience the thrill of a live lacrosse game. I commend their donation of 500 tickets to each home game to the 'Mayor's Take Me Out to the Ballgame' program, which will help them build a solid foundation for the future of lacrosse in New York City."
The NLL has just completed its 20th season, and with the additions of Chicago and New York, the league will have 13 teams playing in the United States and Canada. NLL teams each play a 16-game regular season schedule followed by the Champion's Cup Playoffs. Most NLL clubs are owned and/or operated by the National Hockey League (NHL) and/or National Basketball Association (NBA) teams in their respective markets, and play in the same arenas used by those teams.
"Having a team in New York City has been a goal of ours for a long time," said NLL Commissioner Jim Jennings. "To play in New York, the media, entertainment and cultural capital of North America, is a major step forward in our efforts to make this league truly national. I'd like to thank Mayor Bloomberg for welcoming this, our New York team, to the city, and congratulate the gentlemen who will own and operate what will become a key franchise for the National Lacrosse League."
"I am delighted to welcome professional lacrosse to New York City," said Commissioner Podziba. "With roots dating back to the 17th century, lacrosse has evolved from Native American cultures and positioned itself as America's fastest growing sport - fast, intense, competitive, creative, and most importantly, fun."
The ownership group responsible for bringing professional lacrosse to New York City consists of Gary Rosenbach, founder of the Galleon Group, William E. Ford, president of General Atlantic, LLC, Nick Leone, Senior Managing Director at The Blackstone Group, Flip Huffard, Senior Managing Director at The Blackstone Group and Richard Ullmann, president of Four Winds Financial Group, LLC.
"The owners of the expansion New York NLL team are thrilled to bring America's fastest growing sport to the City of New York," said Team President Richard Ullmann. "New York sports fans will now have the chance to see the greatest lacrosse players in the world compete in the World's Most Famous Arena. The fast pace, high scoring action of the NLL is sure to be a success in our great city."
"We are proud to welcome the National Lacrosse League to the Madison Square Garden family," said Steve Mills, President & COO, MSG Sports. "Lacrosse is an extremely exciting sport that enjoys a strong and growing fanbase in our area and we look forward to working closely with the NLL to help them tap into the thriving lacrosse community and to showcase the games in a first-class manner."
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America's professional indoor lacrosse league, featuring the best lacrosse players in the world. Professional indoor lacrosse combines the physical elements of hockey with the high scoring, fast pace, and play-making style of basketball. Indoor lacrosse is played inside the confines of a NHL hockey rink, with glass and rink boards intact. The playing surface consists of a green turf carpet that is laid down over the hockey ice. The two teams combine to score a total of 25 goals in the average NLL game.
All NLL games are played on the weekends. Attendance is at an all-time high for the league. The league's average attendance for the 2006 season was just under 11,000 fans per game, with several games played in front of crowds in excess of 16,000 fans. The league attracted a total of more than one million fans last season. The other 12 teams are: Arizona Sting, Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Chicago Shamrox, Colorado Mammoth, Edmonton Rush, Minnesota Swarm, Philadelphia Wings, Portland LumberJax, Rochester Knighthawks, San Jose Stealth and Toronto Rock. The 2007 season begins in January. For more information, visit the official website of the National Lacrosse League at www.NLL.com.
The City's Sports Commission ensures the continuation and growth of a healthy environment for professional, amateur and scholastic sports activities in the area. The Commission administers the "Mayor's Take Me Out to the Ballgame" program, which has provided over 200,000 children throughout the five boroughs with the opportunity to attend professional and amateur, live sporting events since the program's inception in 2000, thanks to the generosity of teams, leagues, universities and associations in the metropolitan area. According to the U.S. Lacrosse Survey, as of 2004, there are 24,410 active participants in lacrosse leagues in New York City and Long Island, from youth through the professional ranks.
Stu Loeser/Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Marc Mugnos (212) 487-7120
Doug Fritts (NLL) (212) 764-1390
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