One thing Major League Lacrosse has struggled with in recent years is timing and Monday’s news was no different. On Monday MLL announced that the Dallas Rattlers would case operations for the 2020 MLL Season which was set to kick off on May 31st.
The Rattlers are the fourth team in less than a year to go defunct in MLL. The other three were the Ohio Machine, Florida Launch, and the Charlotte Hounds. It is worth noting the Hounds are expected to return for the 2021 season when their new stadium is completed. At least this year’s announcement came prior to the entry-level and supplemental drafts, unlike last year’s April 1st decision.
Within their press release on Monday, they thanked the City of Dallas for their support and noted that the league is maintaining all of the Rattlers trademarks “for a return to the Dallas market”. In addition, the league stats that the “players are contracted with the league and will be a part of a new Major League Lacrosse franchise”.
What is unclear is if that new MLL franchise is one of the remaining five teams or is a new franchise that will launch in 2020.
It is worth noting that MLL took ownership of the Rattlers back in October of 2019 replacing New Balance as the owners of the franchise. That move was part of last year’s April re-structuring with the league going to one franchise per owner policy.
“We’re not shutting this team down,” MLL Commissioner Sandy Brown said in October. “Everything is in place. The team is in existence and we expect will compete in the 2020 season.”
In all likelihood, Commissioner Brown probably believed an owner search for Dallas would prove fruitful but it appears that is on ice for the time being. Dallas had relocated from Rochester and was actually one of the better MLL teams for the past couple of years. It will be interesting to see where MLL goes from here, five teams for the 2020 season is a bit light, even six teams last year was tough. With the PLL launching last year and the MLL entering its 20th season the battle for eyeballs in professional lacrosse is certainly on.