Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jim Jennings Resigns as NLL Commissioner, Is League Still in Good Shape

When a commissioner of a league resigns from the league in the middle of the season, it never bodes well for the state of the league.  Therefore, warning bells went off on Saturday when the NLL announced that Jim Jennings was stepping down from his post as the commissioner. 

According to Jennings and the NLL, this was in the works for a few months and is not a sign of things to come for the league.  The league has shown some pratfalls this offseason with the issues of the New York Titans trying to find a more stable home location other than MSG and the Chicago Shamrox folding a few weeks before the season starts.  These signs and the fact that there is no major deals in the works with a national TV contract or stability of franchises from season to season bodes that this league may not make it after this season ends. 

There are franchises that make money in the NLL.  The Buffalo Bandits and the Colorado Mammoth are two of the biggest teams in the league and two teams that make a profit year after year.  But there are more teams in the league that are holding on for lifesupport.  The Portland Lumberjax are not doing well even though they made the Champions Cup final last year, attendance is very, very low for San Jose Stealth games, which is bad due to the fact that the league is an attendance driven league, and the Canadian teams may have a harder time trying to survive if the Canadian dollar keeps falling as compared to the US dollar.

This has occurred in other leagues, the AFL and MISL, major indoor soccer league, which led to the leagues folding the year after.  With Jennings leaving and the NLL not showing an urgency of finding a replacement commissioner in an orderly fashion, it leads me to believe that the league is going to fold at the end of the 2009 season which is just sad when you think at how far the league has come.

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