Next August, MLL will return to Kennesaw, but for its greatest showcase.
The league will host its 2014 championship game Aug. 23, further testing the metro-Atlanta area — and Kennesaw State particularly — as the home of a future expansion franchise.
“We are thrilled to return to Fifth Third Bank Stadium and the Atlanta region,” MLL commissioner David Gross said in a release. “We believe in the growth of the sport in the area and having the championship game there is the next step as we contemplate future expansion.”
MLL will enter the 2014 season with eight teams largely based along the East Coast, including an expansion franchise in Boca Raton, Fla. A ninth team in Hamilton, Ontario, has suspended play for the upcoming season, which begins in April.
The Denver Outlaws and Ohio Machine are the league’s westernmost teams.
Last season, an announced crowd of 4,470 came to Fifth Third Bank Stadium to see the Rochester Rattlers beat the Boston Cannons 16-14 in the first MLL game played in Georgia. According to the release, that game’s success paved the way for the league to entertain bringing one of its marquee events back to the area as it looks to expand.
“What a great compliment it is for Major League Lacrosse to think that highly of our facility, staff and community to want to host the Championship Game in Kennesaw,” Kennesaw State athletic director Vaughn Williams said in the release. “We are excited and honored to be a part of the MLL season finale.”
The 2014 MLL championship will be a joint effort of MLL, the Atlanta Sports Council, the Cobb Sports Alliance and the local business community.
The Atlanta Sports Council has played a role in helping to attract and support more than 50 major sporting events to the Atlanta region, including two Super Bowls, the 1996 Summer Olympics and a combined five NCAA men’s and women’s Final Fours.
Formed in 2013, the Cobb Sports Alliance is a division of Cobb Travel and Tourism.
“Lacrosse has a large following in our community and the Cobb Sports Alliance … is very excited to be a part of the Major League Lacrosse championship game,” said Holly Bass, CEO of Cobb Travel & Tourism. “This is a fantastic opportunity for Cobb County, and we look forward to working with lacrosse at all levels to build an excellent fan experience.”