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Paul Rabil is Doing Things His Way with the PLL

Paul Rabil isn’t the first person to try and start a league from scratch in the modern era. But he’s the first to do it this way.

Co-founder of the Premier Lacrosse League, Rabil has been growing the young league since it launched in 2019. Along the way, he’s taken bits and pieces from other professional sports leagues to help fuel the foundation. However, he’s also carving his own path to get PLL where he envisions it being.

Ahead of the second annual Boardroom & PLL Street Lacrosse event, Boardroom Co-founder Rich Kleiman sat down with Rabil to discuss how they’ve focused on building a league of the future, his new book “Way of the Champion” and much more.

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Building a Sports League in the Modern Era

There are many other leagues that Rabil can learn from — both the good and the bad — while he builds PLL. But what separates Rabil and his league from the rest?

Scaling Success

At his core, Rabil is a fierce competitor. That’s what made him one of the best to ever play the sport of lacrosse. It’s this same instinct that drives him as he builds the PLL. He discusses how the league found inspiration in a touring model, taking notes from the rapid rise of Formula 1.

The Art of Storytelling

As the PLL grows, Rabil understands the power of the underlying stories. From breeding tension between the league’s teams to surfacing the personal narratives of the best players, the league has devoted resources to bringing these to fans in fun and engaging ways.

Learning to Thrive

As he and his brother, Mike, continue to grow the PLL, they have taken advice from those in similar positions in other sports. Since its inception, MLS has been building the brand of soccer in the US as much as it has been growing its teams. Rabil discusses the key advice he’s garnered from MLS commissioner Don Garber to help envision the league’s path to success.

Expanding the Product

This year, the PLL debuted the Championship Series. The games took an alternative 6-on-6 format and introduced a new crowd to the sport. However, they also created a new way of thinking around the various products that the PLL is building. Rabil discusses how the NBA’s in-season tournament inspired the vision.

Going Global

Lacrosse will be on the global stage at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Rabil fought for its inclusion alongside some of the biggest names in sports, including Casey Wasserman, Joe Tsai, and Robert Kraft.

Ensuring Equity

One of Rabil’s motivating factors in creating the PLL was to create a sustainable financial opportunity for its players. He breaks down his vision for player compensation, which includes building in an equity stake for athletes.

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Griffin Adams

Griffin Adams is an Editor at Boardroom. He's had previous stints with The Athletic and Catena Media, and has also seen his work appear in publications such as USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and MLB.com. A University of Utah graduate, he can be seen obnoxiously cheering on the Utes on Saturdays and is known to Trust The Process as a loyal Philadelphia 76ers fan.

About The Author
Griffin Adams
Griffin Adams
Griffin Adams is an Editor at Boardroom. He's had previous stints with The Athletic and Catena Media, and has also seen his work appear in publications such as USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and MLB.com. A University of Utah graduate, he can be seen obnoxiously cheering on the Utes on Saturdays and is known to Trust The Process as a loyal Philadelphia 76ers fan.