Sports

The Utah Arches is the new Premier Lacrosse League team

'It’s exciting to see an addition of another professional sports team to our state,' said Gov. Spencer Cox

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Premier Lacrosse League  (PLL) announced on Tuesday that the Archers Lacrosse Club will now call Utah home, becoming the Utah Archers, as part of the league’s shift to tie its eight lacrosse clubs to home locations. The Archers are the reigning PLL Champions, winning the 2023 title in a thrilling 15-14 victory over what are now the Philadelphia Waterdogs.

“We’re thrilled to bring the reigning champion Archers Lacrosse Club to Utah sports fans across the state and region,” said Mike Rabil, co-founder and CEO of the Premier Lacrosse League in a statement. “Utah holds a special place in our league’s heart and history, as it was home to our 2020 ‘bubble season,’ and among the first pro sports competitions to be held safely during the pandemic. Great partners in Jeff Robbins at the Utah Sports Commission, and John Kimball, Ryan Smith and the entire RSL organization, and David Neeleman have been gracious hosts, and Utah lacrosse fans have continued to show up for PLL weekends over the last three seasons. We can’t wait to see fans across the region rally around the Archers ahead of our return next season.”

“Utah’s sports landscape has evolved significantly over the last 20 years and it’s exciting to see an addition of another professional sports team to our state,” said Gov. Spencer  Cox in a statement. “The State of Utah extends a warm welcome to Utah Archers and the Premier Lacrosse League!”

“Lacrosse is growing rapidly not only in Utah but also nationally and is well positioned for future growth globally with the recent announcement of its inclusion in the 2028 Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles. The Premier Lacrosse League has been a key part of the sport’s rapid expansion,” said Jeff Robbins, president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission in a statement. “Having the Utah Archers call our state their home will bring some of the greatest players in the world to the State of Sport.”

The PLL will also adopt a two-conference structure in the 2024 season. The Archers will be a Western Conference team, joined by the Carolina Chaos, Denver Outlaws, and California Redwoods. The New York Atlas, Boston Cannons, Philadelphia Waterdogs, and Maryland Whipsnakes will make up the Eastern Conference, with a conference-based matchup set for the 2024 PLL All-Star Game.

In its first five seasons, the PLL operated a touring model, where teams did not have geographic affiliation, and all eight teams played in one market each game weekend. The league will continue to operate a 14-week, tour-based season, with eight of the league’s 10 regular season game weekends to be held in teams’ home markets, including Utah. When the PLL returns to Utah in 2024, the Archers, as host and home team, will play two games over the course of a weekend.

“This move will continue to put Utah at the top tier of lacrosse nationally,” said David Neeleman, founder and chief executive officer of Breeze Airways in a statement. “As a long time supporter of University of Utah lacrosse, I am thrilled that Utah has been selected as the home of the PLL Champion Utah Archers. I would like to thank all those who have made this happen — it is great for Utah to have another professional team.”

The PLL will also make new investments in the growth of youth lacrosse in Utah by establishing community driven, Archers-branded programming focused on grassroots participation, access to the sport and relationship -uilding between the Archers and Utah’s next generation of lacrosse players.

The Archers will first represent Utah when they compete in the 2024 PLL Championship Series, Feb. 14-19, 2024, in Washington, D.C. The PLL Championship Series features the league’s top four teams from the 2023 season, in 6-on-6, Olympic-style lacrosse — the game format set to return lacrosse to the Olympic stage at the Los Angeles 2028 Games.

The move marks the league’s biggest investment in its business and the sport since its inception in 2018. After evaluating existing fan data, market performance, broadcast viewership, and fan voting, the PLL assigned teams to the following cities and regions:

  1. Utah Archers
  2. Boston Cannons
  3. New York Atlas
  4. Philadelphia Waterdogs
  5. Maryland Whipsnakes
  6. Carolina Chaos
  7. Denver Outlaws (formerly Chrome Lacrosse Club)
  8. California Redwoods

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