Professional lacrosse is coming back to Maryland.
In a midday announcement on ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” Premier Lacrosse League co-founder Paul Rabil said eight markets have been awarded franchises in advance of the 2024 season, and Maryland is one of them.
The eight teams are the New York Atlas, Boston Cannons, Philadelphia Waterdogs and Maryland Whipsnakes in the east and the Utah Archers, Carolina Chaos, Denver Outlaws and California Redwoods in the west.
During the past five years, the PLL did not have teams anchored in cities with a traditional “home and away” schedule, opting instead for a touring model across the country.
“Our eight lacrosse clubs are coming home,” said Rabil, a legend in the sport who played at Johns Hopkins, in a press release. “This is the biggest moment in our league’s history since 2018 —when we first launched the PLL.”
In the league’s previous iteration, the team was named the Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club, with the motto “strike without warning.” The current roster includes 10 players who were members of the lacrosse team at the University of Maryland, according to the team’s website.
The PLL’s announcement comes on the heels of the International Olympic Committee adding a version of lacrosse known as sixes to the 2028 games in Los Angeles.
“With the Olympic news, we’re now a global game and will continue to invest in bringing the PLL to new markets in the U.S. and around the world,” Rabil said in the release.
What has yet to be announced are the specific home venues for the teams.
For now, the league will continue to operate a 14-week, tour-based season, with eight of the league’s 10 regular season game weekends being held in each team’s home market.
The ultimate goal is for the league to own and operate its proprietary venues.
In August, The Banner wrote about the PLL’s visit to Homewood Field, with roughly 8,500 fans in attendance, and the potential of the city and state to one day secure its own franchise.
“Incredible,” Rabil told the Banner as he took in the action on the Johns Hopkins campus. “Three o’clock on a Saturday. Dead of summer. Four games sold out both days. Standing room-only tickets left. ... It’s such a beautiful venue. Not only its history of lacrosse but its capacity for PLL games. We’re playing four over the course of two days, which is a different sell than just one game. It’s easier to sell out one game; it’s hard to sell out four. This just shows the stickiness in the market.”
Baltimore hasn’t had a pro men’s outdoor lacrosse team since 2006. But given that the city and surrounding area are a hotbed for lacrosse talent, the region was seen as a favorite for one of the eight PLL franchises.