From Forbes last week... https://www.forbes.com/sites/setheverett/2018/04/06/national-lacrosse-league-partners-with-brand-new-ott-service-bleacher-report-live/#224689182116 National Lacrosse League Partners With New OTT Service Bleacher Report Live SportsMoney #SportsMoneyAPR 6, 2018 @ 07:11 AM Seth Everett , CONTRIBUTOR Sports Broadcaster, Podcaster & SAGAFTRA Union Member Digital streaming continues to be the direction that live sports are headed. Major League Baseball debuted on Facebook this week. ESPN is putting a 30 For 30documentary about Bobby Knight on its new OTT pay app, ESPN+. In addition, Turner’s Bleacher Report recently announced the creation of Bleacher Report Live, a new direct-to-consumer content streaming service, featuring exclusive NBA content and more. Another sport to benefit from Bleacher Report Live is the National Lacrosse League. It’s not quite the NBA, but it is key to the further growth of sports that use social media and new technology to grow their brand. The NLL, which is the faster, more engaged indoor version of the sport also known as “Box lacrosse,” has grown in profitability, engagement and visibility under commissioner Nick Sakiewicz, a two-time Major League Soccer executive of the year. “Go where our fans are, and our fans live online and are used to engaging in a mobile environment,” Sakiewicz said. The league's ownership groups of engaged partners include sports business household names like Comcast, the Pegulas and Stan Kroenke, as well as a new entry into the ownership room, Alibaba cofounder Joe Tsai. The streaming service, which will be free until at least June, will offer thousands of events: soccer, spring league football, professional surfing and even arm wrestling, as well as nearly 1,000 live out-of-market NBA games, along with countless other properties when all is finally fully blown out in the coming year. The NLL followed a current trend of niche sports choosing a digital platform to broadcast their games, according to Kevin Morgan, Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer for the NLL. He explained this week at a New York Venture Capital Sports event on emerging properties that controlling all of your IP and bringing it right to your fans is not only cost efficient, but also the best way to build a loyal fan base and bring in casual fans. For years, the NLL struggled to find its place in the media landscape, moving games to various cable networks while never gaining ground. The combination of new leadership in Sakiewicz and the emergence of the digital environment was a perfect storm. “Seven of our franchises are profitable now, and this partnership with Turner and Bleacher Report gives us the ability to drive more revenue and intertwine our exciting and marketable athletes with all of the rest of Turners partners, and we think that’s a great tipping point for where we can take the NLL,” Morgan said. “When people get exposed to our content, they are hooked, and our game is made for the digital native: endless action with great athletes. It’s a very exciting time not just for us, but for all those properties that can figure out the digital first space.” The numbers also don’t lie. NLL broadcasts on its own platform, NLL.TV, as well as on Twitter, have regularly drawn in excess of 300,000 views, showing that the following is there. That audience can be amplified with a distribution partner like Turner and the assets of Bleacher Report Live. I spoke with Sakiewicz about the growth of the NLL on a podcast four months ago. “The distribution of content continues to evolve, and Turner has invested in creating and delivering premium, multiplatform experiences including our soon-to-be-launched B/R Live sports streaming service,” David Levy, president of Turner, said at the launch of Bleacher Report Live in New York. The NLL will look to capitalize on the digital partnership with Turner and hopefully expand to new markets. “We are looking to expand but with the right owners in the right cities and the right venues, and our value proposition speaks directly to those who are looking to fill buildings, grow a new fan base and look to a well-placed digital property,” Morgan said. Those areas have been reported to be lacrosse hotbeds like Dallas, San Francisco, New York, Tampa and Cleveland, joining the growing success in U.S. and Canadian markets that already exist. Philadelphia and San Diego join in next year, and further expansion interest has been buoyed by the Turner announcement and other steps the new administration has taken. While the fanfare for Bleacher Report Live certainly centered around the NBA, it might be the NLL and its millions of lacrosse fans that will truly benefit.