If you are planning to enter the world of lacrosse because you want to be rich, then this sport isn’t for you. As much as you may love playing lacrosse, it isn’t really a sport that generates that much money in the world of TV deals and sponsorship. This means that salary ranges are somewhat on the low side. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for professional lacrosse players to need to hold down a second job in order to live their life.
On this page, I want to go through the three main professional lacrosse leagues in the United States. The income generated in each of these leagues is slightly different, and this has a huge impact on how much money you can make.
How much do Professional Lacrosse Players Make in Major League Lacrosse (MLL)?
Major League Lacrosse is the ‘original’ professional lacrosse league, launching in 1999. You would think that this would mean that the MLL pays the highest salaries. However, it doesn’t.
If you are playing MLL, then you need to be getting a second job. The average salary for an MLL player will be between $8,000 and $10,000. Some players can be paid as much as $25,000, but this is going to be exceedingly rare. Most players are sitting on the lower end of the spectrum.
Since some competition entered the market in 2019 (more on that in a short while), the MLL realized that it needed to make some huge changes in terms of salaries in the league. They have pledged to try to increase the average salary in the league by as much as 51%. This wouldn’t make the players as much as in the PLL, but it would probably help these teams attract players a little bit easier. It also means that players will have more time to dedicate to training than trying to work a second job.
It is worth noting that because the MLL was the very first professional lacrosse league, the owners never really knew how to make money with it. The earnings for the league haven’t really improved that much over the years either. So, while I do believe that the MLL owners are looking to try and increase salaries across the board, I doubt that this is something that could feasibly happen. Most of the teams that play in the MLL are currently making losses. They simply wouldn’t be able to deal with increased salaries.
How Much Do Professional Lacrosse Players Make in Premier League Lacrosse (PLL)?
Premier League Lacrosse (PLL) launched in 2019. There are some people predicting that the PLL will become the main league in the United States. In fact, there are some people that believe that the PLL will completely kill off MLL, although that may not be for a few years.
Part of the reason as to why many people believe that the PLL will be the death knell of the MLL is due to the higher amount of cash the players in the league get paid. In the PLL, the current average salary is $35,000, with the minimum being $25,000. This is high enough to mean that people will not need to obtain a second job. It means that they can devote their entire time to improving their sport.
Now, the $35,000 is still going to be somewhat on the low side in comparison to other major sport leagues. The PLL has attempted to shake things up a little bit on the benefits front, though.
If you are a player in the PLL, then you will be able to enjoy health benefits. This means that health insurance is included by way of being a player. There may be other benefits to players given from time to time.
The major benefit, however, is one that has never appeared in any other sporting league. When you become a player in the PLL, you will gain shares in the league. This means that you can earn money that way too. Of course, the amount of cash that you can make from a brand new league is going to be fairly low at the moment. However, as the league expands, players could potentially make hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars extra each year due to their shares.
How Much Do Professional Lacrosse Players Make in National League Lacrosse (NLL)?
While the other two leagues are field lacrosse leagues, the NLL is the only professional box lacrosse league.
You will find that there are players that will play in either the PLL and MLL, and then spend the colder months of the year playing in the NLL. This means that, potentially, their yearly salary will be a bit higher as they are playing in two different leagues.
In the NLL, the average salary is between $19,000 and $34,000 per year.
The reason why salaries for box lacrosse are so much higher is due to it being a much more ‘specator-friendly’ sport. Small variations to the rules of the game mean that it is much more exciting to watch. Most of the places where box lacrosse takes place will be converted professional ice hockey rinks too. This means that they are pretty much built to pack in a ton of spectators. You do not get this with field lacrosse, where some fields have limited viewing areas.
NLL has also done incredibly well on the TV viewership front.
There are some benefits provided to players in the NLL. I assume that these are going to be health benefits, although some of the best players have probably negotiated benefits of their own.
The NLL claims that it wants to increase the average salary in the league by about 25% over the next few years. I genuinely believe that it is likely that this will end up happening. This is because the NLL seems to be scoring a lot of brilliant TV deals. If the PLL really starts to take hold, then a lot of people will want something to watch during the ‘off-season’ too, which will only lead to more money entering the NLL.
Can Lacrosse Players Make Money From Sponsorships?
There are no rules that state that professional lacrosse players cannot make money from sponsorships. However, I can’t imagine that the money that they make from sponsorships will be enough to offset the relatively low salary they receive from playing in the leagues.
What you have to remember is that lacrosse is still a minority sport. It doesn’t attract a lot of viewers. While people outside the world of soccer, for instance, may know who the big soccer stars are (David Beckham, Messi etc.), it is highly doubtful that you would know the name of a professional lacrosse player if you didn’t watch lacrosse. They don’t really grab the headlines. Sponsors want their sponorship to make them money. Lacrosse players simply do not make money.
Most of the sponsorships are for equipment and the like. This normally means free equipment as opposed to a stable income.
All three lacrosse leagues offer minimal amounts of cash in comparison to other professional sporting leagues. This means that if you are playing lacrosse, you will be playing lacrosse for fun as opposed to being a viable way of making a living.