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How The Lacrosse Network Has Become a Go-To Source for Content Surrounding the Sport

The network has leaned on its digital channels to showcase the best lacrosse has to offer.

Adam White

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Personalities have helped drive the network forward. (Photo via TLN)

Once known as the sport that well-to-do families on the East Coast played, lacrosse has quietly emerged as one of the fastest growing team sports at the high school and collegiate levels.

According to US Lacrosse, over the last five years, the number of schools sponsoring lacrosse at the high school level has risen 27 percent, and the number of NCAA schools sponsoring lacrosse has grown 33 percent.

Hoping to take advantage of the increased attention and participation, The Lacrosse Network is doubling down on creating content for both Instagram and YouTube that brings to life the sport’s biggest moments and the personalities who are helping elevate the game with their social media presence.

To do this effectively, the channel, led by Tyler Steinhardt, has turned to its community for feedback and has adjusted the content accordingly.

“Our audience is very vocal in what they like, and because it’s such a niche sport it allows us to respond directly to their feedback and ideas,” Steinhardt said.

What they found was an insatiable appetite for content that pulled back the curtain on today’s stars and made them more relatable to consumers.

“We have also gone long on content profiling the sport’s best stars, sharing their playing tips, origin stories, and off-field pursuits,” Steinhardt said when taking a look back at what the community had shared with them. “The younger fan is more interested in the players than the scores of the games, so we’re focused on bringing them to life through our content.”

When it comes to growth, especially on Instagram, Steinhardt and his team rely on a two-pronged approach of creating content that either focuses on utility or social currency.

“Since tagging friends and direct messaging posts is the easiest way to reach a new audience, our strategy is to develop content that people will want to share. We think that people share for two reasons — utility (learning from a play) or social currency (making a friend laugh) — so we produce content that taps into those triggers.”

On YouTube, the network has turned its attention to premium shows that are supported by weekly content.

“On YouTube, we release premium shows that run for usually a month, such as “DRIVE” and “Through X” as well as weekly programming such as the “TLN Top 5” and “Weekly Watch,”” Steinhardt said. “The weekly content builds the habit of watching TLN, which we then use to build upon to reach a new audience when we launch premium programming.”

Steinhardt credits the growth of the network to the one-on-one connections he and the team have with many of its ardent fans, something that other larger sports might not be able to take advantage of. But, as properties like FloSports have shown, owning an audience of what many mainstream consumers would consider a niche sport can be rather lucrative.

“The advantage of being a niche sport is having a stronger understanding of your audience,” Steinhardt said. “We get to meet our fans every year at events like the Final Four, and we can get direct feedback on their favorite content. This not only fuels our engagement across social platforms, but also extends that relationship off the screen as our audience wears our merch and shares TLN with their friends.”

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The network’s most recent successful content play focused on the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Final Four and its partnership with ESPN to deliver a segment around the theme of #ThankYouLacrosse. The goal? To reach non-lacrosse fans and help them realize the impact the sport can have outside of teams lifting trophies above their heads.

“After the segment ran, we saw hundreds of posts and over two million cross-platform impressions,” Steinhardt said when speaking on the success of the campaign.

In today’s digital world, there is not only power in the quality of content created, but the quality of people the content reaches. Luckily, for The Lacrosse Network, it has the best of both worlds.

Adam is the Founder and CEO of Front Office Sports. A University of Miami Alum, Adam has worked for opendorse, the Fiesta Bowl, and the University of Miami Athletic Department. He can be reached at adam@frntofficesport.com.

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Kyrie Irving Expected to Sign with Roc Nation

Kyrie Irving is expected to sign with Roc Nation, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Michael McCarthy

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Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving is expected to sign with Roc Nation, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation.

Irving, who was most recently repped by Jeffrey Wechsler of 24/7 Sports Management, joins an NBA client roster at Roc Nation that includes the likes of Kevin Durant, Josh Hart, Justise Winslow, Danny Green and Caris LeVert.

The switch in representation comes on the same day that Irving took the first step toward his prospective free agency this summer.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Irving is not opting into his $21.3 million contract for the 2019-20 season and will become an unrestricted free agent.

By not opting into his contract, Irving can sign with any NBA team when free agency opens on Sunday, June 30th.

If he signs with a team other than the Celtics, he will be eligible to sign a max deal worth $139 million over four years.

If he were to stay with the Celtics, Irving can sign a five-year deal worth $188 million.

An industry source speculated that Roc Nation could be waiving the fees on Irving’s contract in order to retain his marketing rights.

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Meet the WNBA’s New Boss

Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert will become the first commissioner of the WNBA and the first woman to lead a Big Four professional services firm in the U.S.

Front Office Sports

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else.

For the first time ever, the WNBA will have a commissioner. Before now, all of the league’s previous leaders like Val Ackerman and Lisa Borders were given the title of president. 

Cathy Engelbert, the current CEO of Deloitte, will take control of the role on July 17th and will report directly to Adam Silver. 

What should you know?

1. By the time she is done at Deloitte, Engelbert will have spent more time at the company (33 years) than the WNBA has been a league (23 years)

2. Engelbert is the first female to lead a Big Four professional services firm in the U.S.

3. She is the fifth person to lead the league after Val Ackerman (1997-2005), Donna Orender (2005-10), Laurel Richie (2011-15) and Lisa Borders (2016-2018)

4. Engelbert has spent the past four years in charge of Deloitte’s U.S. operation.

Basketball is in her blood…

Although she might be an accountant by trade, Engelbert is no stranger to the game of basketball. 

According to Bob Hille of Sporting News, she played at Lehigh for Hall of Fame coach Muffet McGraw and was a team captain as a senior. Her father Kurt also played and was drafted in 1957 by the Pistons.

What are they saying?

“Cathy is a world-class business leader with a deep connection to women’s basketball, which makes her the ideal person to lead the WNBA into its next phase of growth. The WNBA will benefit significantly from her more than 30 years of business and operational experience including revenue generation, sharp entrepreneurial instincts and proven management abilities.” – Adam Silver on the hiring of Engelbert

“I think that’s probably one of the reasons I was selected for this role, to come in and bring a business plan to build the WNBA into a real business and a thriving business, quite frankly.” – Engelbert to ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel

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Adam Silver Wants More Gender Diversity

The NBA commissioner states his desire to get more women into the sports industry. The NBA currently has a 31.6 percent ratio of women in team management.

Front Office Sports

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Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

*This piece first appeared in the Front Office Sports Newsletter. Subscribe today and get the news before anyone else. 

If Adam Silver has his way, 50 percent of the new incoming NBA officials will be women.

That number applies to coaches too, Silver said speaking at the Economic Club of Washington.

How do the leagues stack up?

The following numbers, outside of MLB, come from 2018 reports put together by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida. MLB is the first league to have a report done on it this year.

1. NBA – 31.6% of team management are women / 37.2% of team professional admins are women

2. NFL – 22.1% of team senior admins are women / 35% of team professional admins are women

3. MLB – 28.6% of team senior admins are women / 26% of team professional admins are women

4. MLS – 26.5% of team senior admins are women / 31.6% of team professional admins are women

5. WNBA – 48.6% of team VPs and above are women / 58% of team managers to senior directors are women

6. NHL – No report done

Quotes from Silver… 

“It’s an area, frankly, where I’ve acknowledged that I’m not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long. Because it’s an area of the game where physically, certainly, there’s no benefit to being a man, as opposed to a woman, when it comes to refereeing.”

“The goal is going forward, it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league. Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.”

That’s not all Silver wants to see change…

Silver, who has been adamant about getting rid of the one-and-done rule, provided some clarity as to when that might be achieved.

According to the commissioner, the 2022 NBA Draft will likely be the first one since the 2005 NBA Draft to allow high school players to go straight into the league rather than playing a season in college first.

Citing “active discussions” with the NBPA, Silver noted that they are still “a few years away.”

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