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NLL adopts unified standings format and updated playoff structure

NLL Lacrosse NLL Lacrosse

Traditionally, the release of the National Lacrosse League schedule has fans digging through their favorite teams’ slates, looking for big matchups, dates that they can circle on their calendars and when the league’s biggest stars will be in their town. Tuesday’s unveiling has all that, but much more as the league announced several new structural formats, most prominently a single-table, “Unified Standings,” in which teams are ranked regardless of geography.

Significantly, the first thing fans will notice is the absence of East and West Conferences; the 15 teams will now all be grouped together, and the playoffs will feature the top eight vying for the Championship. The top regular season seed will face #8, #2 will take on #7, #3 hosts #6 and #4 entertains #5 in the single-elimination first round to advance to best-of-three semifinals and NLL Cup series in the “March to May.”

“The revamped standings, schedule and playoff formats provide a streamlined, easy-to-follow, and fiercely competitive method of determining our playoff teams and, ultimately, our champion,” said Brett Frood, NLL Commissioner. “This also affords us flexibility in matching up teams to sustain lasting rivalries, create new ones, and maximize fan and partner engagement across the league.”

This marks a significant change, simplifying the qualification process for teams and fans, and showcasing the coast-to-coast reach of the league across the continent, guaranteeing that the best eight teams at the end of the regular season have an opportunity to be crowned champion.

Scheduling also gets a makeover, with each team now scheduled to play every other team once, plus four additional “flex” games that preserve established rivalries and fan interest, showcase games with impactful storylines, and highlight star player matchups. Competitive equitability and schedule parity are paramount, and fans will enjoy games all year with playoff atmosphere and implications.

Play begins with NLL Faceoff Weekend, December 1-2, featuring three games on Friday and two on Saturday. Defending champion Buffalo will begin its defense of its 2022-23 NLL title on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Albany, then will raise its Championship banner at home on Dec. 16. TSN+ will again broadcast every game, while the schedule of TSN linear games will be announced soon.