I’ve written before about stability in the NLL, since teams relocate more often than a Waterloo co-op student. The trend continues. After five years of low attendance in San Jose, the Stealth are moving to Everett, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. As much as I want to see this succeed, I just can’t.
The successful teams in the NLL are all downtown – Colorado, Philadelphia, Toronto, Calgary, Buffalo, even Rochester. Of course, New York proves that this isn’t always going to work, but the last time the NLL tried to move a team into a suburb of a major city (Chicaco), that team folded after two seasons because of low attendance, and Seattle is smaller than Chicago and has no lacrosse history that I know of. It’s fairly close to BC, which has lots of lacrosse history, so that could help.
I think the naming of the team could have a big effect. Having the team called the Everett whatevers will not help convince people that this is a big-time league (and quite honestly, having a team in Rochester doesn’t help with that either). All the press releases I’ve seen about this move specifically say that the team is moving to Everett, not Seattle, so I doubt it will be called the Seattle whatevers. If it’s called the Washington whatevers, I think that will help, but regardless of the name, unless tons of Vancouver people make the drive down, I don’t see this team lasting more than a year, maybe two.