FORT WORTH, TX – The Panther City Lacrosse Club was announced today as the name of the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) 14th franchise by team President and CEO Greg Bibb. Playing inside the state-of-the-art Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, Panther City will begin play in November 2021 for the NLL’s 2021-2022 season.
“We are excited to bring the National Lacrosse League and world-class professional lacrosse to north Texas, the great city of Fort Worth and Dickies Arena,” Bibb stated. “As a Fort Worth resident, I’m proud to serve as a steward of this team, a community asset for the city and region to enjoy, support and rally around. For nearly 150 years Fort Worth has proudly owned the Panther City moniker. By naming the team the Panther City Lacrosse Club we unabashedly lean into that history and celebrate our thriving city and the people who make the 13th largest municipality in the United States feel like the best small town in America. Today we proudly announce to the world, we are Fort Worth, we are Panther City.”
Bibb was joined by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Dickies Arena President and General Manager Matt Homan, NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz, and Panther City Lacrosse General Manager and VP of Lacrosse Operations Bob Hamley for the organization’s launch event where the team’s name and brand were announced.
“The leadership of the Panther City Lacrosse Club took the time to uncover the right look and feel for their brand, and the result is unique and on message not just for their fans, but for all of lacrosse as well,” Sakiewicz said. “This selection, and all the events surrounding it, continue to show why we as a league and Fort Worth as a city are so bullish on the team’s inaugural season next year. We know this will be the model for how to launch a franchise that is reinforced with the unveiling today.”
“We are thrilled Panther City Lacrosse Club, the National Lacrosse League’s newest team, is calling Fort Worth and Dickies Arena home,” Price said. “It makes perfect sense that the fastest growing sport in the nation would select Fort Worth, one of the fastest growing cities in the country. We look forward to cheering on Fort Worth’s new home team.”
“The Panther City slogan is a symbol of Fort Worth’s historic aptitude for coming together, building momentum and delivering progress for the benefit of the community,” Homan stated. “Dickies Arena is one of the great products of this civic pride and determination and we are pleased today to add the Panther City Lacrosse Club to this list of remarkable achievements for Fort Worth. We are energized by this partnership with the National Lacrosse League and the caliber of competition it will bring to Dickies Arena, Fort Worth and Texas. Our new state-of-the-art facility will provide a top-notch experience for a world-class organization and its fans.”
The genesis of the Panther association happened when an 1875 newspaper column written by Robert Cowart, a former Fort Worth resident, was published in the Dallas Daily Herald. He wrote, “Last week our suburban village of Fort Worth was the scene of the wildest excitement… The high water of the Trinity [River] overflowed the bottom and drove out a panther, who wandered at his own sweet will during the night through the streets. Next morning his tracks were seen by the terror stricken natives… The whole village turned out to examine the tracks of the monster, and a public meeting was immediately called… Parson Fitzgerald drove down a stake, ‘[Where] the [panther] had laid down.’”
Other citizens claimed they saw the panther, its outline or its tracks. Though the story of a panther wondering the city, and eventually laying down to sleep in the middle of downtown, was intended as a jab at Fort Worth’s quiet, sleepy and dark streets, the city adopted the offense as a symbol of strength, hope and revival. As the main insignia of the team, the apex predator reflects the attitude and spirit of a city with momentum.
The logo and branding for Panther City Lacrosse Club contains three components: the Panther, the star and Spanish Colonial architecture. As previously mentioned, the panther moniker can be found across the city from statues, to civil offices to geographical features. The Panther is a name that locals recognize as their own and will pique the interest of nonresidents and inspire them to learn more about the city.
The star represents the Lone Star State and though the team is in Fort Worth, it represents all of Texas. Panther City Lacrosse Club will be the first National Lacrosse League team in Texas and the first professional sports franchise to call Dickies Arena home.
The shield that the panther and star rest in is a nod to Spanish Colonial architecture with the star located where a bell would normally rest. While this iconic style does not depict an exact building in the city, the design can be found around the city, especially in the Stockyards.
The purple and red emphasize the descriptors of an ominous big cat that hunts at night. This is not a cat that came into the city and slipped out unnoticed, as the legend tells. This panther is a threatening and aggressive apex predator that is on the prowl.