Interview with George Daniel, Commissioner of the National Lacrosse League (NLL)

Joining us on the show is the Commissioner of the NLL, George Daniel. Daniel, who was appointed Interim Commissioner in 2009, has been involved in the NLL over the past 10 years holding numerous positions including Deputy Commissioner, CEO, President of New York Titans and the leagues legal council. Commissioner Daniel joins us to discuss the ins & outs of the NLL’s front office including expansion, tv contracts, neutral site games, and video games. Catch the entire interview below.

Ryan asked the Commissioner what the league has been up to the last 10 years or so. “It’s actually our 25th season this season,” said Commissioner Daniel, “The Rock came onto the scene, I believe in 1998, and that’s really when the sport started growing in popularity on a professional level in Canada.”

George Daniel (left) presents the NLL Champions Cup trophy to the Calgary Roughnecks in 2009

Ryan and Commissioner Daniel discussed the leagues expansion across North America and a few of the leagues difficulties in establishing franchise stability. “In some cases, we’ve probably gone to some cities too quickly,” said Commissioner Daniel. “We probably went to the west coast of the United States, in places like California where the sport was growing, we probably got there a little quicker than we were ready for.”

Ryan asked what it took for the NLL to secure a national tv contract in Canada. “We’ve had a good relationship with Canadian television over the years,” said Commissioner Daniel, “Since the inception of the Toronto Rock we’ve been on national television in Canada for the most part.” “It’s a good programming fit, the networks like it, it generally draws respectable ratings and it’s simply a matter of us getting out in front planning and talking to all the right network partners.”

Ryan asked if the NLL would ever play the championship game at a neutral site location. “No, not really,” said Commissioner Daniel, “I think we have the best format in sports to be quite honest with you.” “The electricity and the energy at our championship game…is superior to the Super Bowl.” “The environment at an NLL Championship is superior to any other event because it’s always like a game 7 atmosphere and you don’t get that in any other sport,” said Commissioner Daniel.

Ryan asked about the 2010 NLL video game and the impact it has on the sport. “I think it’s a tremendous impact,” said Commissioner Daniel, “just like fantasy lacrosse, it allows people who maybe have a passing interest in the sport and are not familiar with it, they open up a door and expose them to the NLL simply because they downloaded the game on their XBox.” “Another benefit is that it’s great for our fans and that they’re able to play a video game with all of the NLL players and all of the NLL teams represented,” said Commissioner Daniel. “It’s definitely a nice thing to have for the league.”

Ryan asked what the short and long term plans are for the NLL. “The short term and long term really come down to simply improve the awareness of the league, to continue to look for those platforms to increase our awareness and to push our brand out there and to expose our product,” said Commissioner Daniel. “We think we have a great sport, it’s high scoring, it’s fast paced, hard hitting, and we just want to get it out there and exposed.”


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