The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the largest and most successful professional lacrosse property in the world, readies for the 2021-22 campaign, beginning Friday and Saturday with every team playing in a slate of seven games on Face Off Weekend across North America. The start of its 35th season also launches a series of exciting developments this year, most notably historic television coverage on ESPN and TSN linear and digital platforms, an expanded playoff format, and the inaugural season of Panther City Lacrosse Club.
The first of 126 regular season games take place on Friday, when the Vancouver Warriors visit the San Diego Seals on ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET). On Saturday, there will be six games: Saskatchewan at Halifax (6 p.m. ET); Albany at Toronto in its new home in Hamilton, Ontario (7 p.m. ET); Colorado at Georgia (7 p.m. ET); expansion Panther City at Philadelphia (7 p.m.); Rochester at New York (7:30 p.m. ET); and Calgary at Buffalo (7:30 p.m. ET).
Fans can watch every game on the NLL schedule through TSN, which will broadcast a minimum of 20 “NLL Game of the Week” games in Canada on its national television feeds and the rest through TSN digital platforms, and ESPN, which will distribute every game on ESPN+ and broadcast 10 linear games across the ESPN family of networks. It will be the greatest number of live televised games in the history of the league.
Saturday’s game between the Albany FireWolves and Toronto Rock is TSN’s first NLL Game of the Week beginning at 7 p.m. ET. ESPN begins its linear coverage next Saturday, December 11, with San Diego visiting Colorado at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS.
The NLL’s 14 teams competing this year are aligned into two Conferences, with the top four teams in the East and top three in the West advancing to the playoffs. The eighth playoff slot will go to the team with the better record between the fifth-place East and fourth place West teams, per NLL tiebreaker rules. The first round will be single-elimination, while the second round and NLL Championship Finals will each be best-of-three series.
“NLL fans and everyone who associates with the league have been waiting a long time for this day, and we are thrilled that Face Off Weekend is finally upon us,” said NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. “With comprehensive and unprecedented coverage on TSN and ESPN, revamped Conference and playoff format, new e-commerce sites in the U.S. and Canada powered by Fanatics, new and expanded marketing partnerships and programs like NLL Unites recognizing and celebrating the sport’s rich heritage, our 35th season is set to be the biggest and best ever.”