Have Lacrosse as a Major League sport akin to the Big Four/Big Five (Baseball, Basketball, Gridiron Football, Hockey and Soccer)

Lacrosse is by far one of the oldest team sports in North America (United States and Canada) dating back to the Native Americans of pre-Columbian America and Canada where they would often play this game particularly the ones from the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic and the South/Dixie usually as a ritual that would last several days and have thousands play it as well as rules like not touching the ball and using large rocks or trees as the goal posts as well as sticks made up of wood, wattup and deer sinew and balls made out of wood or deer skin.

Lacrosse itself wasn't documented that much until the 17th century (1600s) when French colonists such as missionary Jean Brebeuf had wrote down details about the game in the St. Lawrence Valley region with even the very name lacrosse itself being a term from their language. Other details about lacrosse were recorded by James Smith (leader of the Black Boys militia) and Zebulon Pike (U.S. Army captain).

In the mid to late 1850s a Canadian man from Montreal, Quebec by the name of William George Beers a dentist founded the Montreal Lacrosse Club and codified the rules of modern lacrosse and the very first game played under his version was at Upper Canada College in Toronto, Ontario and soon it popularity spread like wildfire in the Dominion of Canada. Overseas games of lacrosse were played one of which was shown to Queen Victoria who described it as "very pretty to watch" and soon British girls schools adopted the sports in the 1890s. The United States also saw it's first organized lacrosse club in the form of the Mohawk Lacrosse Club in Troy, New York. By the 20th century, many high schools, colleges and universities adopted lacrosse as a sport and even the Summer Olympics in 1904 (St. Louis, Missouri) and 1908 (London, United Kingdom) had the game played there.

I think the reason why lacrosse isn't as popular as baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer has to go to do with the fact that it's perceived as a Northeastern game in the United States although in recent years the sport has spread to other parts of the country and participation is growing. In Canada, it is fairly popular but still not quite close as hockey, Canadian football (the Canadian version of American football) and basketball. The highest levels of lacrosse played in both countries are the indoor National Lacrosse League (NLL) and Major League Lacrosse (MLL) even then neither of those leagues are anywhere near the Big Four/Big Five such as the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Canadian Football League (CFL) at least in Canada for that organization.

Concerning what lacrosse would look like as a Major League sport I think this league (We'll call it the North American Professional Lacrosse League/Ligue De Crosse Professionnelle Nord-Americaine) would emerge at around the 1880s-1900s and span major cities in the United States and Canada at around 30-32 teams (United States: New York City, New York, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Buffalo, New York, Detroit, Michigan, Cleveland, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, California, San Francisco, California, Seattle, Washington, Miami, Florida, Tampa/St, Petersburg, Florida, Atlanta, Georgia, Dallas, Texas, Houston, Texas, Portland, Oregon, St. Louis, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, Charlotte, North Carolina and Phoenix, Arizona. Canada: Toronto, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Ontario, Hamilton, Ontario, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Calgary, Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Vancouver, British Columbia and Regina, Saskatchewan). This league would probably heavily Canadian as much as it is American similar to the NHL with around 8-9 teams, the owners would be either from various other leagues such as the NHL, CFL, MLS, NBA, NFL and/or the MLB (i.e. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and Yankee Global Enterprises) and they would share stadiums with existing teams from those leagues.

Is there anyway to make lacrosse more popular or at least widespread like the Big Four/Big Five sports? Any specific POD ideas you have in mind?
 
The NLL was growing in popularity between the mid-90s and about 2010, perhaps if for whatever reason there is no Arena Football League then the NLL could pull off the feat of grabbing TV contracts like the AFL did to get to that quasi-fifth major level during the mid-Aughts. Then you just have to figure out how to make sure it avoids the fate that the AFL suffered during the Great Recession.
 
@Ficboy, IMO your assessment of Lacrosse in the US being a sport of the northeast is one of the reasons.

Specific to this, even in the 1980's it was a sport of the elite private high schools where I was raised. I went to a Catholic high school and it was only a club sport. Had the sport been adapted and embraced sooner at the high school level and in turn incorporated into the collegiate level with scholarships, the chances of lacrosse being ready for professional sports would increase.
 
I think Queen Victoria comment and its popularity among girls school damaged it. "girls sports" stigma is making it unpopular among watcher, amateur, and businessman.
 
If American football is banned at the turn of the century, while most of the energy would diffuse to rugby and soccer, a bit of the ole ultraviolence craving could make lacrosse become a bigger sport.
 
I grew up in Vancouver B.C. where box lacrosse (played in a de-iced hockey rink) was very popular and had the reputation of being an extremely rough sport, rougher even than ice hockey.
 
Eastern Tribes sent to Oklahoma bring the sport with them, introducing it to both Great Plains Indians and more importantly, the Army. The sport becomes very popular amongst military personnel during the US Civil War as officers serving in the West prewar introduce the game to their units as a way of raising morale.

During winter months, regiments create teams and have tournaments. Regiments go ho home post war but keep their teams, creating a popular club sport among veteran organizations. Soon West Point and the Naval Academy and other military schools obtain there own teams followed by every other college in America.

By the early 1900s, Lacrosse along with baseball becomes America's favorite sport, with football dying out in popularity.
 
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