“Seven of our franchises are profitable now..."

Discussion in 'NLL News and Rumors' started by Vin, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    From Forbes last week...


    National Lacrosse League Partners With New OTT Service Bleacher Report Live
    SportsMoney #SportsMoneyAPR 6, 2018 @ 07:11 AM

    Seth Everett ,


    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.
  2. AmericanRockFan

    AmericanRockFan Well-Known Member

    So that means the Rock and the Stealth are losing money? Or the Swarm and the Rock? Because I'm pretty sure the Rock have never turned a profit under Dawick's ownership per an article from 2-3 years ago, and I don't think that's changed unless he has totally slashed payroll since.
  3. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    i heard the same thing about the Rock, and there is also no effing way that Rochester, Georgia and Van are breaking even.

    NE might be, but, they have different economics.

    Colorado, Buffalo, Calgary, and Sask are the only ones that i firmly believe.
  4. unspoken

    unspoken Member

    Yeah I'd have a tough time believing this. Previous things I've seen quoted Dawick as saying they need to sell 12,000 tickets a game to break even. Their average is 2000 to 2500 under that.

    Georgia can't possibly be profitable unless their reported 5000 attendance per game is tickets bought and only about 25% of those are actually used. Vancouver would be a stretch as well although I've read their lease costs are basically nothing and also there's a rumor that the city has a subsidy with the team that it pays the revenue difference if attendance is under a certain number.
  5. BlackWolves99

    BlackWolves99 Member

    I agree with a few of the teams listed here that need help.
    Georgia even though they won a Champions Cup has been hurting for attendance and even in the playoffs couldn't get the place filled.
    I also think Rochester is having a rough time based on the price they are selling for season tickets ($225 for the season for the best seat in the house, that is the 2nd or 3rd best seat in other arenas.)

    Profit Teams:
    I can see Vancouver somehow breaking even by not having as many fly in players but that has hurt them over the years in being dominant, which they haven't really been.
    Toronto has too much of a representation and they have the NLL in there pocket in having the media offices there for the league. I think the league won't let Toronto go under ever. Plus Toronto does have their practice facility which is must do a pretty good business as well.
    New England, they are increasing tickets next season and even though it'll cost extra, the casino has part ownership of this team and will not let it go under.
    Sask, the fact they have been in it and stayed in it since they have been in Sask is what is making this team money left and right. In Edmonton, I think they were profitable but I think here the attendance speaks for themselves.
    Colorado, Buffalo, Calgary = NHL owned teams which have plenty of room to spend and will therefore will not let their teams suffer.
  6. chuckster

    chuckster Well-Known Member

    I think Vancouver is saving a good chunk of money under their lease deal. Georgia is likely paying less than what they paid in Minnesota. I think Rochester renegotiated their lease deal a couple of years ago so they may be under more favorable terms. Both Georgia and Vancouver are filling gaps with sponsorship money.

    My bet is that the Rock is definitely 1 team that is losing a good chunk of money, mostly due to the high rent at the ACC. The other team is likely Rochester or Georgia but they may not be in as deep as the Rock are.
  7. Hollywood42

    Hollywood42 Well-Known Member

    No doubt Toronto is losing money I know the ACC is one of the most expensive buildings to rent in the nll prolly in history just behind that time the titans thought Madison square garden would work
  8. BIG E NY

    BIG E NY Active Member

    Interesting that the expansion cities mentioned were: Dallas, San Francisco, New York, Tampa & Cleveland. Last report had Halifax, Boston and Portland. Tampa and Cleveland must be a result of losing their well supported AFL teams. Bringing in Gilbert and Vinik would be two more huge adds.
  9. AmericanRockFan

    AmericanRockFan Well-Known Member

    This. It wouldn't shock me if Toronto has one of the higher revenues in the league, but I don't think they're turning a profit.
  10. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    I stopped looking at what Georgia announces, but it is a rare day that there are actually 2000 asses in seats.

    even if each of those asses represented $50 per game in revenue, you dont have enough money to run an NLL team, even out of a second or third tier rink.

    Vancouver has a sweetheart lease and local players, but, the same thoughts apply - attendance doesn't add up to an NLL budget, even if I pretended the rake was $50 per seat per game.

    Toronto has the highest arena costs, but, if it really is about $60k per game, this might still be a slightly healthier situation than a $5 to 10k per date rental in Georgia or Rochester......aint covering costs, but, maybe more potential to cover costs with luck and marketing.
  11. BanditsRock11

    BanditsRock11 Well-Known Member

    Tampa and Cleveland would be amazing additions for road trips/quick cheap flights to a great spot in the winter.
  12. mtbf

    mtbf Well-Known Member

    Numbers may not lie but it sure seems like Sakiewicz does. Regularly drawing 300k views the NLL has only sold 610,860 tickets all season it is highly unlikely any game or tweet has ever gotten 300,000 unique views. If the NLL had a perfect week with all four games feature the big 4 teams having home games 52-53 thousand people are buying tickets. There would have to be close to 600,000 different people people watching and paying for the games for "most" games presuming some people are watching more than one. Does anyone really think online viewership draws 10x game attendance?
  13. chuckster

    chuckster Well-Known Member

    No one should be buying that BS. On one of the last Twitter games, I think the video showed there were 150 people watching at any one moment.

    The Commish's main job is to sell the sport to potential owners and advertisers. Who knows if those people actually verify the numbers they're given.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    RockStar likes this.
  14. chuckster

    chuckster Well-Known Member

    I count 42 "partners" of the Georgia Swarm plus 1 season sponsor.


    If each partner pays $5k, that's $210k in revenue.....although some of those may be trade for services which would still reduce expenses for the Swarm. The season sponsor......Harrah's Cherokee.....should be on the hook for at least $50k or more at that level. With a younger team that is lighter on payroll, they could be doing OK where they are at best breaking even and at worst losing a small amount of money.
  15. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    no matter how sweet the arena deal is, and no matter how much sponsorship and other non ticket revenues are coming in, I dont see it hitting the close to $2M that it probably takes to to run the team.

    i mean the youngsters and coaching staff are all fly-ins, so you dont even get a break on costs for home games.
  16. Wings-4-Life

    Wings-4-Life Well-Known Member

    It was only 2 or 3 years ago the games were all live on Youtube (for free). Only on rare Saturday nights would there ever be more than 1,000 people watching a game at a given time.

    Now that they games are behind a paywall, I highly doubt they're even pulling 1,000 per game.
    Tom Wersderfer likes this.
  17. AmericanRockFan

    AmericanRockFan Well-Known Member

    I think 2014 was the last year of the free YouTube feeds, because I think there was some version of NLLTV in 2015. I remember trying to watch it at the Yale hospital one night and the feed was terrible cause of the bad internet. The Fox Sports Go experiment in 2016 was good in theory, but those feeds were such crap that I'll never whine about NLLTV.

    But you're right, it was the rare Saturday night game, and often one that featured Buffalo as the away team, that pulled in roughly 1,000 or so viewers. I definitely don't have any data in front of me, but I think a lot of games I watched averaged in the 400-500 range at the time.
  18. swami24

    swami24 Well-Known Member

    If I am a sponsor, and someone likes to me.about viewship. I will never trust.or deal with that person again.

    If I am a sponsor and I am paying good money for stadium advertising, I do not re up if There are no buts in the seats.
  19. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    I think I can remember seeing a Toronto game with 2500 whatever back in the youtube days, but, typically it was in the low part of the 1k to 2k range.

    If you think about it, half of your season ticket base is probably the 100% upper limit - because a) 99% of non-season-seat holders probably don't give enough of a ****, b) many season seat holders won't give a **** about lousy web feeds behind a paywall, and, c) the sample of season seat holders who do give a **** about lousy web feeds behind a paywall often live in the same household as other season seatholders.

    So, potential market:
    ~3000 NLLTV accounts in Toronto and Calgary, 5000 in Buffalo, Colorado, and Sask, 2000 in Rochester and NE, 1000 in GA and Van,

    Coming up with market saturation estimate less than 30,000 subscriptions.

    Doubt the market is saturated, so, 10 to 20k seems believable-ish, and, of that, majority will only give a **** about their home team's games.

    Rock used to get 40,000 on regular cable TV, so, as hilarious as it might be to ponder this, we've fallen a helluva long way from the early Jennings days! :D
  20. Rick716

    Rick716 Well-Known Member

    The number of viewers they are throwing around are make believe. They're like pro-wrestling numbers (I'm a long time wrestling fan). If they were really drawing 300,000 viewers regularly on a paid streaming service, they would have the game on TV which is where they should be. It's OK to have a streaming service, but it has to complement a TV presence otherwise only the hard core fans are watching.

    I always compare it to the WNBA. They have national and local TV partners (ABC/ESPN/regional sports networks) but they also have the streaming service WNBA League/Team Pass for games not on national TV. Obviously, they have the NBA's backing to get them on ESPN/ABC.

    The NWSL (National Women's Soccer League) has a game of the week on Lifetime, and all others on a free streaming service.

    A true pro sport still has to be on TV. At some point they need to go down that road again. I bought the NLL season package and watch the NLL on my Roku. But no casual fan is going to do that.

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