The Premier Lacrosse League secures Series D Round of Financing led by The Chernin Group, WWE and 35V
By PLL | Jul 21, 2022
LOS ANGELES, CA. (July 21st, 2022) - The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) powered by Ticketmaster has announced the completion of a Series D round of funding. The financing was led by return investor The Chernin Group (TCG), with continued participation from Blue Pool Capital and Brett Jefferson Holdings. New investors include World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and 35V, led by two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant and entrepreneur Rich Kleiman, Wheelhouse Entertainment and Pomp Investments.
Headlined by a major media rights deal with ESPN in the offseason, followed by a multi-year entitlement partnership with CashApp, the first six weeks of the 2022 season saw sellout crowds in Albany and Baltimore (+38% YoY), made a tour debut in Charlotte, NC, and has highly-anticipated premiere games forthcoming in Fairfield, CT, Frisco, TX and Seattle, WA. Among other successes, the PLL’s first live broadcast game with ABC saw an Archers-Cannons game deliver 452K total average viewers and a peak viewership of 623K – the largest broadcast audience in pro outdoor lacrosse history.
Uses of the Series D financing include the following areas of focus: increased player incentives, upgraded travel experiences, off-season programming, hiring key talent across commercial business efforts, expansion of PLL media, marketing and scripted/unscripted productions, PLL game weekend enhancement, and a robust data science and technology team.
“As early investors in PLL we have followed their growth with enthusiasm and are excited to partner with Mike and Paul even more closely with this investment,” said Mike Kerns, Co-Founder and Partner at TCG. “We believe that PLL exemplifies everything we look for in a company. They are building the category defining brand in the ultimate passion area for consumers: sports."
“With the support and uses of our extraordinary investors’ capital, our focus is on hiring across several strategic business units, growing our brand presence at the youth level, as well as having a sharp focus on improving our player experience by way of enhanced workers comp package, larger incentive plans, marketing addendums and off-season programming,” said Co-Founder and CEO Michael Rabil. “We’ve captured a lot of attention through three and half seasons – with more to come – and we’re aiming to further illustrate that attention through innovative sponsorship opportunities, ticketing platforms, and creative merchandise campaigns.”
The PLL’s expansion plans include an offseason tournament, called the Championship Series, designed to pit the top 4 teams of the preceding regular season against each other in Olympic Sixes format, with a round robin into a Semifinal and Championship Game.
In 2018, the PLL partnered with Uninterrupted and Matt Tolmach Productions to produce a documentary on the build of the league, called FATE OF A SPORT, which premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival, and was recently acquired by Disney and ESPN Films, with an official release date forthcoming. More scripted and unscripted programming will be an emphasis of the leagues into subsequent seasons.
“We're continuing to trailblaze the future of professional sports, now with additional funding led by 3 of the most innovative companies in the world,” said PLL Co-Founder and President Paul Rabil. “What we've been able to accomplish in four seasons is only the beginning for the PLL. It’s only the beginning for lacrosse. With one of the best net promoter scores in pro sports, we know our product is top class. Today marks a moment in our journey where we want to enhance our distribution and storytelling around the league, teams and players, create an even better experience for our fans, and introduce some of the biggest brands in the world to America's first game.”
For more information about the 2022 PLL season, visit www.premierlacrosseleague.com/schedule.
ABOUT PREMIER LACROSSE LEAGUE
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) powered by Ticketmaster is a men’s professional lacrosse league in North America, composed of 8 teams rostered by the best players in the world. Co-founded by lacrosse superstar, philanthropist, and investor Paul Rabil and his brother, serial entrepreneur and investor, Mike Rabil, the PLL is backed by an investment group composed of Joe Tsai Sports, The Chernin Group, Arctos Sports Partners, Brett Jefferson Holdings, The Raine Group, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), The Kraft Group, Bolt Capital and other top investors in sports and media. The PLL is distributed through an exclusive media rights agreement with ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN+. The PLL was recognized by Front Office Sports’ 2021 Best Employers in Sports. For more on the league, visit www.premierlacrosseleague.com and follow on social media: Instagram (@PLL), Twitter (@PremierLacrosse), Facebook (@PremierLacrosseLeague), YouTube (YouTube.com/PLL) and TikTok (@pll).
Founded by Peter Chernin, Jesse Jacobs, and Mike Kerns, The Chernin Group (TCG) is a multi-stage investment firm dedicated to building consumer businesses. With a focus on majority and significant minority investments in growing consumer businesses, the TCG team has a track record of working with world-class consumer brands in digital media, commerce, marketplaces, sports, gaming, consumer finance, consumer blockchain and health and wellness brands and platforms. The TCG portfolio includes Action Network, Barstool Sports, Dapper Labs, Exploding Kittens, Food52, Funko, Headspace, Hodinkee, MeatEater, The Pro’s Closet, Zed Run, and more. For more information visit tcg.co