The San Diego Seals, finally, are back.
On Friday, December 3, after nearly 21 months of not being able to play a National Lacrosse League game, the Seals will be the first club in the league to hit the carpet when they host the Colorado Mammoth at Pechanga Arena.
“Being the curtain-raiser for the National Lacrosse League after so many months, I think all eyes will be on San Diego throughout the NLL in North America and the whole lacrosse world,” says Seals President Steve Govett. “We’re excited, we’re pretty proud of it, and we’re going to put on a great show.”
Given their history of fantastic fan engagement, that’s a given.
The NLL tried a few times to get back to playing but with several teams located in Canada the travel issues made that impossible. The league thinks vaccination numbers in the United States and Canada will allow them to have no more setbacks by December.
“We feel pretty confident that things are progressing to the stages that we’re going to be able to open fully,” says Govett. “We’ve seen a lot of full buildings throughout the NHL and NBA and in Canadian buildings. We’re crossing our fingers they’re getting ready to come back online.”
Their debut two years ago was a wild success. To re-introduce themselves to the market the Seals will be launching a marketing campaign using a lot of the information they’ve gathered over the last year and a half.
“When you launch a franchise the first time you don’t get to do it again, ever, until now,” says Govett. “So, seeing what we could have been better at, I think we’ve stepped back and addressed those and kept our full staff on those 20 months. We’re pretty excited about what those people have been working diligently on.”
Their arena-mates, the Gulls, will also be returning this fall (October 22 at Pechanga Arena) and a pair of local clubs, the Padres and Loyal SC, are well on their way to the playoffs. The Seals are working with all of them to create more awareness of just how good a sports market San Diego really is.
“I talk to (Gulls president of business operations) Matt Savant weekly,” says Govett. “We talk to the Loyal SC guys a lot. We talk to the Legion. Certainly, We’re interacting with the Padres on a regular basis. (Padres C.E.O.) Erik Greupner and I have a good relationship and I was on a phone call Wednesday night with Ron Fowler. We have really positive relationships in the marketplace and I think we’re all thinking about how the rising tide raises all the boats.”
With their roster returning largely intact the Seals are expected to be one of the best teams in the National Lacrosse League this season. The Padres are obviously a World Series contender. Loyal SC is the hottest team in USL Championship and the Gulls have been a playoff team four of the last five seasons.
A series of championship parades sounds like a really fun, and legitimate, thing to start planning.
For Seals tickets, click here. The full schedule is expected to be released soon.