There are already a number of professional sports franchises in the North Texas area. The Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and Dallas Wings play in Arlington while Dallas is home to both the Dallas Mavericks and the Dallas Stars. Fort Worth is part of this region, but until recently the 13e The nation’s largest city and the single fastest growing major city in America (according to the 2020 U.S. Census) lacks a professional sports franchise.
It is until now.
The National Lacrosse League will host the Panther City Lacrosse Club as an expansion team for the upcoming season and they will play in the all-new 14,000-seat Dickies Arena which opened in November 2019.
âThis is the Forth Worth team,â said Greg Bibb, President and CEO of Panther City LC. âWhile we present the team as a North Texas lacrosse team, we really try to engage the Fort Worth community and recognize the Panther City Lacrosse Club as a community asset. We are the only professional team that lives in the city.
Bibb is also president and CEO of the Dallas Wings of the WNBA, also owned by majority owner of Panther City LC, Bill Cameron. When the ownership group was looking to add a second sports franchise to its portfolio, a National Lacrosse League franchise was a very attractive option, as North Texas is a fast growing youth lacrosse market.
âIn some cases there are too many kids who want to play and not enough adults who have played to administer and coach,â Bibb said. “We’re very bullish on the game here in North Texas and from a National Lacrosse League perspective the great thing about the sport is obviously it’s lacrosse and speaks to the lacrosse community. , but it’s also a lot of hockey and a lot of basketball. “
So why the name âPanther City Lacrosse Clubâ?
Fort Worth is called “Panther City” because the panther is found in all city limits, including statues of the big cat sleeping quietly in downtown Fort Worth, as well as the Panther Island Pavilion and Panther Island. Brewing Company. The association between Fort Worth and a panther also dates back to 1875 when a newspaper columnist wrote about a flowing river and chasing a panther that wandered the streets at night.
Thus, after the NLL awarded its 14e franchise in Fort Worth in July 2020, it was obvious to indoctrinate âPantherâ in the team’s name.
In November 2020, the team would be named âPanther City Lacrosse Clubâ.
And now Fort Worth has its own squad that will also be part of a very busy professional sporting calendar to attract fans among the 7.5 million people who live in North Texas.
âThere’s a lot of competition in terms of pro sports, college sports and just a bunch of stuff to do because it’s a vibrant market,â Bibb said. âFinding our way, raising awareness and making people know we’re here is easier said than done, so it’s up to us to make sure people understand that this world-class lacrosse team is playing. on the road in Fort Worth at the Dickies Arena. “
Panther City LC will become the first team to play in the State of Texas in the 35-year history of the NLL. The sport of lacrosse has developed both geographically and demographically across the United States and is gaining momentum in Texas. Panther City’s goal is to get lacrosse sticks into as many kids as possible and especially into the hands of kids who may never have been introduced to the sport before.
Lacrosse continues to find its way to areas that have not traditionally been “lacrosse markets” and which include Texas.
âIt’s no longer a ‘private school for sports only,â Bibb said. âIt is now being played coast to coast and luckily I think for sports and society in general it is played by all walks of life and all demographics. That’s a big part of what we’re trying to do here with our team. We want to be on top of that pyramid of lacrosse for North Texas. “
While management and front desk staff work hard to introduce the team to the market while building grassroots efforts, the lacrosse staff led by vice president of lacrosse operations and general manager Bob Hamley and the Head Coach Tracey Kelusky have been busy putting together what the entire organization hopes to be a competitive team in its first season of play.
Hamley is one of a select group of people to have won an NLL Championship as a player, coach and executive, making him a very important hire for an expansion team in a new box lacrosse market like northern Texas.
âWe are fortunate to have someone whose resume is unmatched in terms of their ability to be a part of and lead, coach and build winning clubs,â said Bibb. âMake no mistakeâ¦ winning in this league is tough. It’s the best lacrosse league in the world with the best lacrosse players on the planet. I’m confident we’ll have a competitive squad in Game 1 when we step onto the pitch in Philadelphia on December 4th.e. “
Six days later, Panther City LC will play its first home game when it hosts Western Division rival the Vancouver Warriors at Dickies Arena. At this point, there will have been two years of planning and marketing a new team in a new market for the sport. The gameday experience will be important and the continued efforts of the community will be crucial for the franchise’s long-term connection to the market.
But a winning team will also go a long way in building a fan base.
âIt’s job one,â Bibb said. âYou have to have a competitive team. Ideally, you want to win more home games than you lose, but it’s also on the business side of the operation to make sure we educate the team.
What started out as an idea turned into getting a franchise. It was in July 2020 and that was followed a few months later by the nomination of the team. And now the wait is almost overâ¦ in fact, it’s only a matter of weeks.
And the level of excitement?
âIt’s high,â Bibb said. âFor me personally, it’s a journey that started two years ago with the idea of ââlooking for additional property for our business. It’s a very exciting time for us.
Welcome to Fort Worth Professional Sport! The Panther City Lacrosse Club is your team in a busy North Texas sports market. It is an exciting time for the community to welcome a sport like lacrosse which continues to grow across the country.