San Diego Business Journal When the men’s world lacrosse championship comes to San Diego in 2023, regardless of which team prevails, area officials say the event will be a big win for tourism in the county.

The sport’s governing body, 
World Lacrosse, on Jan. 10 announced formal plans for the event, which will feature 30 teams and more than 100 games in June and July of next year.

Hosted by the San Diego 2023 Organizing Committee with support from World Lacrosse and USA Lacrosse, the tournament will showcase the top men’s teams in the world as lacrosse vies for inclusion in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.


San Diego will also host a youth lacrosse-themed festival during the tournament.


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Julie Coker President and CEO San Diego Tourism Authority

Big Win for SD

“This is a big win for San Diego,” said Julie Coker, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. “Events like these are critical to the health of our local tourism economy, especially as we continue our recovery. It will also help highlight why San Diego is the perfect destination to host athletes from around the world so we can continue to attract premier sporting events and grow this important sector of our tourism economy.”


Coker said the World Lacrosse Championship that was held in Denver in 2014 brought in $50 million in economic impact, including more than 100,000 visitors, 20 percent of which were international from 40 different countries.
She said the event will likely deliver between 6,250 and 8,000 hotel room nights and that sporting events are responsible for more than 300,000 hotel room nights annually in San Diego.


Sporting Events Critical to Recovery


Although the pandemic has hindered some of the local tourism and hospitality industry -- most recently when the Holiday Bowl was cancelled at the last minute -- sporting events have played a big part of the region’s recovery, helping the tourism and hospitality industry rebound faster than other segments.


The 2023 event will be the first world championship in the sport of lacrosse to take place in California. Games will be held from June 21 through July 1 at San Diego State University and the University of San Diego.


The Men’s World Championship was first held in 1967 and has taken place every four years since 1974.


Next year’s event will mark the fourth edition of the championship to take place in the United States – and the first on the West Coast. Baltimore hosted the championship in 1982 and 1998. The 2014 event took place in Denver.

 
The U.S. will be defending its 2018 title, when it beat Canada 9-8 in Israel.
 Forty-six teams competed in the 2018 tournament.

Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S., with more than 900,000 people playing nationally.


Shooting for Inclusion in 2028 Olympics


World Lacrosse CEO Jim Scherr said the sport “has seen rapid growth around the world and across the United States – especially in the southwestern region.”


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Jim Scherr CEO World Lacrosse

He said the 2023 event will serve as a catalyst for additional interest and participation “as we seek to gain inclusion for lacrosse in the 2028 Olympics.”


Southern California has become a hotbed for lacrosse. The Premier Lacrosse League headquarters is in Los Angeles while San Diego is home to the National Lacrosse League’s San Diego Seals.

 
Seals owner Joe Tsai, one of the founders of the global internet company Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) will serve as chair of the San Diego 2023 Organizing Committee for the event.


Snapdragon Stadium to Host


San Diego State’s newly constructed 35,000-seat Snapdragon Stadium will be the site of opening and closing ceremonies, the opening game, semifinals and medal games.

 
The $310 million stadium is slated to open in September 2022 as the home of SDSU Aztecs’ football. Three more fields on the campus of SDSU will also be used for tournament play.


Torero Stadium at the University of San Diego, with a capacity for 6,000 spectators, will host featured tournament games. The site is home to the Toreros football and soccer programs, the United Soccer League’s San Diego Loyal and Wave FC’s inaugural season.

 
Additional tournament play will be held on the USD campus.


The World Lacrosse Men’s World Championship was delayed a year because of COVID-19. It was originally scheduled for 2022 in British Columbia.


World Lacrosse
Founded: 1974 (as International Lacrosse Federation)
President: Sue Redfern
CEO: Jim Scherr
Membership: 68
Headquarters: Colorado Springs
Website: worldlacrosse.sport
Notable: World Lacrosse is a 501-c(3) nonprofit.