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Buffalo Bandits’ Back-to-Back Championships Cap Record-Setting National Lacrosse League 2023-24 Season

credit: WM Photography

A record-setting sellout crowd for the clinching championship game, a significant uptick in content consumption across all media channels, and the historic launch of its new grassroots youth participation initiative are among the superlatives as the National Lacrosse League (@NLL) closed its 37th season with a second straight Buffalo Bandits’ title with a pair of wins over the upstart Albany FireWolves in the NLL Finals presented by AXIA Time.

The NLL’s first-ever brand campaign, “Welcome to The Next Major League” kicked off a transformative season for the largest professional lacrosse league in the North America:

  • The total NLL attendance of 1,150,369, inclusive of the regular season and playoffs, marks the second straight year that the League surpassed one million in attendance.
  • The Bandits’ championship was the sixth for the franchise, tying the Toronto Rock and Philadelphia Wings for most in NLL history.
  • The Bandits are the first back-to-back champions in the NLL since the Edmonton and Saskatchewan Rush did so in 2015 and 2016. In all, eight teams have won consecutive NLL championships.
  • Buffalo’s Josh Byrne became the fifth player in NLL history to win both the regular season and Finals MVP awards. Dane Dobbie was the last to achieve the feat in 2019.
  • The NLL engaged more fans than ever across its official media channels, including a 42% increase in social video views. (source: Emplifi)
  • The League’s broadcast team produced 135 regular season and 10 playoff games, totaling approximately 365 hours of coverage. Additionally, more than 100 games were produced and distributed in NLL team markets across the U.S. and Canada, adding more than 250 hours of live game coverage to fans via local outlets.
  • The NLL expanded its League-wide activation of the award-winning Every Child Matters initiative, with all 15 teams participating in a campaign helping to bring awareness to the forcible placement of Indigenous children in residential and boarding schools by the Canadian and United States governments from the 19th century to as recently as 1996.
  • The NLL moved forward with its most significant grassroots initiative ever, creating NLL UnBOXed™, a school-centric curriculum and equipment endowment platform aiming to introduce the NLL’s fun, sixes-style game play to a new generation of fansin more communities across North America. The campaign opened with eight new “NLL UnBOXed Lacrosse Communities” joining the 15 existing NLL teams for the 2024 launch.
  • Buffalo’s Dhane Smith set the all-time playoff assists mark, notching nine in Game 1 on Friday to set the mark, and adding five more in the championship-clinching Game 2 on Saturday. His career total of 125 passed John Tavares (116). Smith also added four goals in the two-game sweep, moving into fifth place on the all-time playoff list with 63.

NLL Finals presented by AXIA Time summary:

(4) Buffalo Bandits vs. (3) Albany FireWolves

  • Game 1 – Buffalo 12, at Albany 9, Friday, May 17
  • Game 2 – at Buffalo 15, Albany 13, Saturday, May 18

About Jerry Milani

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Jerry Milani is a writer and public relations executive living in Bloomfield, N.J. He has worked in P.R. for more than 30 years in college and conference sports media relations, two agencies and for the International Fight League, a team-based mixed martial arts league, and as a freelance professional. His PR clients have included Wizard World and FAN EXPO, which produce pop culture and celebrity conventions across North America, USA Wrestling, the National Lacrosse League, Strat-O-Matic Media, the Pacific Life Open and Pilot Pen Tennis tournaments and dozens of others. Milani is also the director of athletic communications for Caldwell University. He is a proud graduate of North Rockland High School and Fordham University and when not attending a Yankees, Rams or Cougars game can be reached at Jerry (at) JerryMilani (dot) com.

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