The good news for lacrosse fans is that the Premiere Lacrosse League will play a two-week summer tournament during July 25-Aug. 9, 2020 instead of a second season. The downside is that the stands will go empty and the event will be conducted without fans.
The match marks a return of at least one sport in an uncertain and trying time of the COVID-19 pandemic when fans have been relegated to watching past games and tournaments. PLL co-owners, Paul and Mike Rabil, anticipated the effects of the pandemic and began creating contingency plans in March.
During the event, the league’s seven teams will play in a 14-game group structure. The results will determine the elimination lineup for the tournament the following week to crown the league champs. The tournament will be broadcast by NBC, NBC Sports Gold, NBCSN, and it will also be streamed online.
The move to go fan-less is part of one of the co-owner’s contingency plans and the decision to hold the match came after speaking with the sports committee at the White House that coordinates with the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control. Specific protocols will be in place for testing and stay-at-home orders for two weeks prior to players’ arrival for the event. Testing will continue throughout the tournament.
While the tournament is set to proceed and will fill the space that would normally be occupied by 2020 Olympic competitions, the exact location hasn’t been established yet. It could take place in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, or Southeast region. The small size of the teams proved to be an advantage compared to others such as the NFL, NASCAR, and even the PGA for testing and safety measures.
The announcement brings a ray of hope to lacrosse fans and those of other sports that are desperate to enjoy live events again amid stay-at-home orders across the nation. It will be the first time that fans won’t be allowed in the stands and promises to be a highlight of the sporting season.