Lacrosse in North America has two professional leagues – the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) for field lacrosse and National Lacrosse League (NLL) for box lacrosse. Playing pro lacrosse requires tremendous skill. But how lucrative is it as a career? What is the salary range for professional lacrosse players?
Professional Lacrosse Salary Basics
There is no single answer on pro lacrosse salaries. Compensation varies based on factors like:
- League – PLL vs NLL
- Experience level
- Team role and ability
- Contract status and negotiations
According to publicly available data, the average salary for PLL players falls in the $35,000 to $50,000 range but can go much higher. NLL salaries average lower in the $5,000 to $20,000 range with less variance.
But these are just base averages. Top pro lacrosse stars can earn $100,000 or more in total compensation when endorsements are included. And players early in their careers may earn quite modest amounts closer to the league minimums.
Premier Lacrosse League Salaries
As a newer league aiming to attract top talent, the Premier Lacrosse League tends to offer higher player salaries than the more established NLL.
In the PLL, rookies earn around $35,000 as a baseline. After proving themselves, veterans can earn upwards of $50,000 to $75,000 in base salary. And some elite players command over $100,000 when including sponsorship deals.
According to Forbes, some examples of top PLL salaries include:
- Paul Rabil: $250,000+
- Tom Schreiber: $150,000+
- Matt Rambo: $120,000+
- Trevor Baptiste: $100,000+
These stars have earned their higher pay through All-Star caliber play demonstrating extreme talent and marketability. Other contributing veteran players still earn respectable salaries of $50,000 to $75,000 to play in the PLL.
Lower salaries of around $30,000 to $35,000 go to rookies and squad players seeing limited minutes. But all players on a PLL roster earn a base living wage approaching $30,000 at minimum.
National Lacrosse League Salaries
Salaries in the National Lacrosse League are lower on average compared to the newer PLL. According to NLL data:
- Minimum rookie salary is $13,000
- Maximum veteran salary is $34,000
- Average salary is around $15,000 to $20,000
Even established NLL stars are capped at $34,000 for base salary under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Some of the top NLL players based on total compensation are:
- Dhane Smith: $34,000 + endorsements
- Tom Schreiber: $33,000 + endorsements
- Adam Jones: $17,000 + endorsements
The league minimum rookie wage is $13,000 per season while most veterans earn in the $15,000 to $25,000 range. This makes NLL salaries lower compared to the PLL, though endorsement deals can bump up top players’ earnings.
Salary Growth Potential
For players in both leagues, potential does exist to increase salaries over a career. Young players earning closer to minimums have room for growth as they prove themselves and gain leverage in contract negotiations. But earning power is still capped compared to other pro sports.
While not at NHL or NBA levels, the best lacrosse stars can earn into a six-figure range from their playing contracts combined with equipment sponsorships and appearances. And salaries for both leagues continue to rise through labor negotiations, expansion, viewership, and revenue growth.
But the average pro lacrosse player needs to supplement with off-season work and coaching. The economics do not support relying solely on pro lacrosse salaries for most players. Still, the chance to play the game at the highest level while earning a part-time living wage is an attractive opportunity for many talented athletes.
The Outlook for Pro Lacrosse Salaries
In summary, while not as lucrative as major pro team sports, lacrosse still provides a viable part-time income source for elite professional players. Top stars can earn upwards of $100,000 when combining salary, endorsements and partnerships. rank and file players earn much more modest salaries in the $20,000 to $50,000 range which must be supplemented by other work.
For those talented and passionate enough to reach the professional ranks, lacrosse offers modest but meaningful compensation. The opportunity to play the game full-time at its highest level while earning a part-time income is a dream come true for many lifelong lacrosse devotees.