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Alibaba exec acquires National Lacrosse League team

Alibaba executive vice-chairman Joe Tsai has acquired a National Lacrosse League (NLL) expansion franchise which will be based in the US city of San Diego.

The Bloomberg news agency said the e-commerce giant’s executive, who has a net worth of $11.4bn (€9.65bn), has paid around $5m for the team, which will commence play in the North American league in 2018-19.

Tsai, who played lacrosse while studying at Yale University in the 1980s, said in a statement: “I have a strong passion for lacrosse, and look forward to bringing the NLL to San Diego. Our team is committed to creating a fan-first experience and to being an integral part of the local community.”

San Diego’s addition means the NLL now has 10 teams across the US and Canada, with commissioner Nick Sakiewicz stating that it plans to introduce a couple of franchises annually over the next five years.

“His (Tsai’s) investment in the league continues to legitimise our five-year strategy and prove what we have all known in the NLL for years – that we have an amazingly entertaining product and a sustainable and profitable business model,” Sakiewicz added.