As Commissioner of the National Lacrosse League, Nick Sakiewicz brings over two decades of experience in the sports, entertainment and facilities development business. Sakiewicz began his sports career as a founding executive of Major League Soccer in 1995. As a new startup league, Sakiewicz worked to build Major League Soccer’s League office as its first VP of Sponsorship Sales.
Over 21 years Nick led team operations in Tampa and New York as President and led the creation of his first soccer specific stadium – Red Bull Arena the only soccer stadium built in the New York market. In 2008 Sakiewicz brought MLS to Philadelphia as the founder, Operating Partner and CEO of Keystone Sports and Entertainment, the ownership entity of the Philadelphia Union. Sakiewicz formed the investor group, raised the capital and led the efforts to build his second soccer-specific stadium in Philadelphia. He launched Major League Soccer’s 16th franchise in 2010, Major League Soccer’s 15th Season. Nick went on to establish the Team’s youth development model and minor league system bringing the United Soccer League’s franchise Bethlehem Steel to central Pennsylvania in 2015.
Over 21 years Sakiewicz has been recognized by Major League Soccer receiving the League’s Executive of the Year award twice (1999 & 2000). He was nominated a third time after creating the opportunity for Red Bull Arena to be built and triggering the record sale of the New York MetroStars to Red Bull energy drink company. Sakiewicz still remains the only soccer executive to engineer the creation of two soccer-specific stadiums in the New York area and in Philadelphia. In doing so, Sakiewicz solidified the long-term viability of MLS in two of the biggest media markets in the United States.
Today, Sakiewicz serves as Commissioner of the National Lacrosse League and is leading another effort to take advantage of the explosive growth of lacrosse and turn the 34-year old league into the next major professional sport. Upon being named Commissioner, Nick led a major brand transformation of the NLL and aimed the League’s narrative and logo at recognizing the League’s deep Indigenous North American roots and rich history. Over his first four seasons, the NLL has attracted seven new blue-chip owners and established five new expansion franchises. San Diego and Philadelphia joined the League in 2018, New York City and Halifax, Nova Scotia joined in 2019 and the NLL’s 15th team, Ft Worth Texas, will join the League in 2022 bringing the League to 14 teams. Under Nick’s leadership the League also launched its first digital streaming television network – NLL TV and after just two years sold its rights for the first time in League history to Turner Sports and BR Live.
Today the NLL is quickly emerging as the next major professional sports league, taking advantage of the fast grassroots growth and shifting millennial and Gen Z audiences with the best lacrosse players in the world. The NLL has become a significant leader throughout the sport both domestically and around the world as more countries are beginning to play the game.