The National Lacrosse League announced Wednesday that their 14th franchise has been awarded to Fort Worth, marking the first time the league has expanded into Texas in its 34-year history.
The Fort Worth team will begin play in the 2021-2022 season at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.
Bill Cameron will be the majority owner of the team, and Greg Bibb will serve as managing partner.
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Cameron is CEO and Chairman of the Board of Cameron Enterprises, partial owner and board member of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, and lead owner and chairman of the Dallas Wings of the WNBA.
Bibb is Chief Executive Officer and Partner of the WNBA's Dallas Wings.
This is the first expansion announcement for any men's professional sports league in North America in 2020. The last official announcement for any men's professional sports league was Major League Soccer's expansion into Sacramento, which occurred on Oct. 21, 2019.
"We welcome Fort Worth as our 14th team and are excited to be working with a first-class organization led by Bill Cameron, Greg Bibb and the leadership at Dickies Arena, one of the premier state-of-the art facilities in the United States," NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz said. "Greg's accomplishments with the WNBA's Dallas Wings, one of the greatest business success stories in professional sports in North America, and a Fort Worth fan base who craves what we provide -- fun-filled nonstop action -- will make this franchise a must see and must follow, not only for fans in the area around Fort Worth, but for the global sports business community, and all those with a passion for lacrosse. All the pieces we look for in a new partner are in place and we have already begun assisting with the ramp up to the opener 18 months from now."
"As we look to expand our sports business portfolio the National Lacrosse League, and the model Nick and his team have created in the past few years, is a perfect fit," Bibb said. "We wanted a growing sport that is on the rise and that fans can engage with, not just at the arena but at the grassroots level, and one that understands the value of the digital native fans and how brands can engage in these fluid times. The NLL checked all those boxes, and we can't wait to bring this new franchise to the fans in greater Fort Worth."
Dickies Arena is scheduled to host the American Athletic Conference men's and women's basketball championships, the 2022 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, and a wide range of concerts and family shows. The arena is also the new home of the Fort Worth Stock Show rodeo performances.
"Fort Worth is a world-class sports destination and we are excited to welcome the National Lacrosse League franchise to our community and our spectacular new Dickies Arena," added Jason Sands, Director, Fort Worth Sports Commission.
The name, logo, and colors of the Fort Worth will be announced later this year.
The NLL's expansion into Fort Worth comes after the league's successful expansion into Long Island, New York with the New York Riptide and Halifax, Nova Scotia with the Halifax Thunderbirds in 2018. The Halifax Thunderbirds relocated from Rochester, New York and were replaced in Rochester by a new Knighthawks team owned by Pegula Sports and Entertainment.
The New York Riptide and the Halifax Thunderbirds began play in the 2019-2020 season, but their season was shortened due to COVID-19.
Dates for the 2020 NLL Draft and other information regarding the start of the 35th NLL season will be announced later this year.