Sports and entertainment company Comcast Spectacor has acquired a National Lacrosse League (NLL) expansion franchise, which will be based in the US city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The team will enter the NLL in December 2018 and play its home games at Wells Fargo Center, the home of NBA basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers and NHL ice hockey franchise the Philadelphia Flyers. Comcast Spectacor also owns the Flyers and Wells Fargo Center.
The addition of the team, the name of which will be revealed at a later date, brings the total number of NLL franchises to 11.
Philadelphia has been without a professional lacrosse franchise since 2014, when the team formerly known as the Wings relocated to Connecticut and rebranded as the New England Black Wolves.
“The National Lacrosse League is elated to award the great city of Philadelphia the 11th franchise,” league commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said. “Philadelphia has long been a hotbed for professional sport with some of the most passionate fans in the world, and we felt the time was right to bring the city another professional franchise.
“We are delighted to bring in another quality owner in Comcast Spectacor as they are at the forefront of hospitality and quality in the sports and entertainment industry. Comcast Spectacor – guided by David Scott – are leaders and revolutionaries in the industry who have consistently pioneered new and innovative ways to cater to their customers worldwide.
"This expansion not only aligns perfectly with our five-year strategic plan, but also brings professional lacrosse back to Philadelphia as so many fans wanted. Lacrosse is no stranger to this part of the nation, and we hope that this expansion team fuels the exponential growth and passion that we already know exists here. We are thrilled to have Philadelphia back.”
Shawn Tilger, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of the Flyers, will serve as the governor of the new franchise. Sean Delaney has been appointed as executive director of Lacrosse Operations and will oversee the formation of the team’s playing squad, coaching staff and relationships throughout the region’s lacrosse community.
Lindsey Masciangelo will serve as executive director of business operations, overseeing sales, marketing and sponsorships.
The news comes after Joe Tsai, executive vice-chairman at Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, last month acquired a San Diego-based NLL franchise to take the number of teams in the league into double figures.