The National Lacrosse League is branching out to introduce young people in new markets to their game, and they’re hoping unique identities for each of those markets will help their efforts.
The NLL launched their new “UnBOXed” program on Tuesday, November 7, which aims to “bring the NLL’s fast-paced lacrosse game to more young boys and girls in more communities across North America.”
As part of the program, the league has worked with Fooser Sports Design out of Tampa, Florida, to create identity packages for nine new UnBOXed communities that don’t currently have an NLL franchise:
- Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Salt Lake City
- St. Louis
- Tampa Bay
The NLL is hoping these identities and community-relevant names will help engage people in these markets and encourage them to participate in the UnBOXed program. They also hope they “illustrate the League’s commitment to growing box lacrosse across Canada and the United States” as they work toward their goal of becoming the “next major league.”
No, these aren’t expansion franchises – yet, anyway. But growing a fan base from the ground up gives the NLL an advantage when it looks to future expansion. The goal is to introduce box lacrosse to more than 100,000 kids a year – and make them fall in love with it.
“NLL UnBOXed is an innovative approach to introducing and fostering the love of box lacrosse’s unique style of play among young boys and girls across North America,” said Kurt Hunzeker, the NLL’s executive vice president of commercial operations, on the league website. “With NLL-style sixes lacrosse coming to the LA28 Summer Olympics, it is imperative that the League leads by example and establishes NLL UnBOXed to create meaningful connections with more communities from coast to coast.”
The NLL hopes to expand its activation footprint to 60 communities across North America by the time the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles roll around. Those games will include sixes lacrosse — a format similar to the box lacrosse played in the NLL — as a medal sport for the first time since 1908.
The NLL is rolling out the new identities over the next few days. Here’s what has been unveiled so far, with updates to come through the rest of the week: