January 20, 2016
SoCal 20-somethings Samir Chaudry, Colin Rosenblum and Julien Berndt launched lacrosse's largest YouTube empire in December 2011. (Josh Rottman)
SoCal 20-somethings Samir Chaudry, Colin Rosenblum and Julien Berndt launched lacrosse's largest YouTube empire in December 2011. (Josh Rottman)

The Lacrosse Network: How a YouTube Empire Was Built

by Lane Errington | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

"How'd you get a job at The Lacrosse Network?" kids often ask 26-year-olds Samir Chaudry and Colin Rosenblum. After all, the channel's nearly 100,000 subscribers make it the largest lacrosse destination on YouTube.

Samir Chaudry signed up for the first-ever lacrosse team at Harvard Westlake (Calif.) High School as a freshman in 2004. "If you were a lacrosse player, you weren't considered an athlete," he said. "We were viewed the same as a surfer or skateboarder...underserved from day one." He went north from Los Angeles to play at UC-Santa Cruz and connected with the team at YouTube Sports to find support for connecting his passions of lacrosse and filmmaking.

Rosenblum grew up playing lacrosse in Princeton, N.J., before going west to play for Colorado in the MCLA. He started a blog, bought a video camera on Craig's List and spent the year after graduation in Boulder learning to film on the fly. When Rosenblum released a trailer for his "Club Ball" series in early 2012, Chaudry and The Lacrosse Network came calling, looking for original content. Three months later, Colin found himself on a plane to join Samir and co-founder Julien Berndt in Los Angeles.

What began in December 2011 with a makeshift studio in Chaudry's bedroom has evolved into a mixture of third-person storytelling and personality-driven recurring episodes with Colin and Samir in front of the camera, produced in their Santa Monica office and across the country. The results — video views in the millions and a thriving community of millennials and Gen Z's eager to consume lacrosse on YouTube and across social media.

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Regular TLN programming includes "The Weekly Watch," a recap of what's happening in the lacrosse world mixed with a heavy dose of banter, and "Unboxing," where the two share letters and packages submitted by the lacrosse community.

In 2014, TLN and US Lacrosse collaborated on "Road to the Rockies," an all-access YouTube series following the Team USA's journey to the FIL World Championship in Denver. They've since partnered with Paul Rabil ("The Move"), Kyle Harrison ("Colin and Kyle") and Joe Walters ("JOE") on docu-style videos.

"Coming from a background of watching skateboarding and surfing media, I want our content to be stylized, to look cool and to be authentic," Rosenblum said. "I really want to showcase the stories and personalities of lacrosse in almost a reality-TV format."

Road to the Rockies: Making Team USA Lacrosse | Episode 1
Feb 2, 2014

TLN supports 60-plus lacrosse-specific channel partners — including Major League Lacrosse, Rabil, East Coast Dyes, US Lacrosse and Lacrosse Magazine — and is part of Whistle Sports, the multi-channel YouTube network that boasts superstar creators like trick-shot masters Dude Perfect (who earlier this year partnered on a video with Rabil) and frisbee phenom Brodie Smith.

What's next? TLN launched their own app in January (now available for iPhone and Android) and recently started TLN+, a paid programming platform for lacrosse filmmakers ("Kandote" and "The Lost Trophy," for starters) to share their stories with the world.

"We're really just a couple of guys who care about the sport, care about the community and want to showcase it," Chaudry said.

Paul Rabil: The Move | Episode 1
Apr 3, 2015

In January of 2015 the most prominent lacrosse player in our sport was traded. We headed to Baltimore to follow his move to the biggest sports market in the world.

As of today, The Lacrosse Network's YouTube channel is less than 200 subscribers away from the 100,000 milestone. Subscribe to the channel here.

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