It's a little tough to keep up on indoor lacrosse news while vacationing in Wisconsin. The closest I came was when I was at a vending machine in Milwaukee on Saturday night, and a woman walked by wearing a Minnesota Swarm t-shirt. She said she loved the game and was even a season-ticket holder.
However, in catching up with the news upon returning, I found that the Calgary Flames of the NHL have purchased the Calgary Roughnecks of the NLL. While this has more or less been expected for some time, it is very good news for the lacrosse league.
There seems to be a business model that works in the NLL, and Buffalo pioneered it. The Bandits are owned by the Sabres, so the lacrosse team doesn't have to worry about such pesky things as rent, and hiring an entire staff for marketing, ticket sales, etc. Want to buy an ad for the Sabres? A radio spot in the Bandits' broadcasts is available for a few extra dollars. The same formula is used in Colorado.
Care to guess which two cities lead the NLL in attendance? You got it.
I would suspect that Calgary now has every opportunity to follow the lead of Buffalo and Colorado. When the Roughnecks were almost out of business during the season, I wondered about the health of the league if that franchise went under. After all, nine teams for an international league is a low number. But the Flames should offer some needed stability, so it's a huge step forward for the NLL.
--- Budd Bailey