It turns out basketball isn’t the only sport Kevin Durant’s interested in.
The sharp shooter’s venture capital firm Thirty Five Ventures –which he co-founded with businessman Rich Kleiman—recently purchased a stake in the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) alongside billionaire Brooklyn Nets ownerJoe Tsai, Arctos Sports Partners, Brett Jefferson, and the WWE.
The business move is brilliant and undoubtedly one that will grow with profit as ESPN recently acquired the media rights to the league and plans to air all 47 games –the most in history– on ESPN+.
“The marketplace saw a proof of concept backed up by performance,” Mike Rabil, PLL’s CEO, told Bloomberg. “Our purpose — in addition to growing the company — is getting out in front of the opportunity to grow the sport internationally.”
The newly established league had its first season in 2019, after being created by former professional lacrosse player Paul Rabil and his brother Mike Rabil. After playing in Boston, San Jose, New San Jose, and Philly, Paul set off to introduce the sport to new markets. The PLL is comprised of eight teams, and the latest round of funding will expand the league even further by pushing a new off-season tournament before next year’s spring lacrosse season as the Rabil brothers try to get the sport included in the Los Angeles Summer Olympics in 2028.
“We are excited for our initial year of PLL coverage, the opportunity to showcase it across ESPN platforms and contribute to the league’s continued growth,” said Dan Margulis, ESPN’s Senior Director of Programming & Acquisitions, when the sports company acquired the rights in May. “Between the indoor NLL season, high school and college lacrosse, and now PLL, ESPN and ESPN+ is the ultimate destination and home for the sport.”