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Sunday, Jul 21, 2024

World LAX Championship Lands in SD

ECONOMY: Event to Generate Influx of Tourism Spending

One of the world’s oldest organized sports will be bringing thousands of people to the newest sports venue in San Diego this week.

The sport of lacrosse, which traces its origins to a 12th century game played by indigenous North Americans, will bring its rising stars from across the globe to Snapdragon Stadium and two other venues starting June 21.

Thirty countries are sending their top players to compete in more than 100 matches for the opportunity to vie for the title on July 1 at Snapdragon during the 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship.

Presented by Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, the 11-day event kicks off June 21 with rivals United States opening play against Canada. Play will continue at the Sports Deck at San Diego State University and Torero Stadium at the University of San Diego.

The semifinals and gold medal game will return to Snapdragon at the end of June and on the final day of play, July 1.

Julie Coker
President and CEO
San Diego Tourism Authority

This is the first World Lacrosse Men’s World Championship to take place on the West Coast, and San Diego is the perfect destination,” said Julie Coker, president and CEO San Diego Tourism Authority. “Premier events like this one are vital to the health of our local tourism economy and highlight all San Diego has to offer fans and athletes so we can continue to grow our sports tourism sector.”

This marks the fourth time the WLC will be contested on American soil — and the first time it’s been held in California. Previous championships held in the U.S. were in Denver in 2014 and Baltimore in 1982 and 1998.

Mark Neville
Sports San Diego

Mark Neville, president and CEO of Sports San Diego, the nonprofit launched last year that seeks to drive sports tourism and visitor demand to economically benefit the rgeion, said thousands of people will be able to “see how beautiful our city is, the venues and everything it offers.”

“For an event of this magnitude to come to San Diego and the national and international visibility, drawing fans to come to San Diego to enjoy it, is a great thing,” Neville said. “The (WLC) will shine a global spotlight on us. This event is one of the biggest in the world. Sports tourism drives a significant impact for communities by driving hotel room nights, increasing tax revenues, boosting local businesses and creating jobs.”

In addition to the U.S. and Canada, 28 other teams, split into six pools of five, will be in San Diego.

Pool A is made up of the U.S., Canada, Australia, England and Haudenosaunee Nationals Lacrosse Organization. (The Haudenosaunee is an indigenous sports organization made up of sovereign people that competes on the world stage.)

Pool B has Japan, Uganda, Wales, France and Denmark. Pool C has Israel, the Philippines, the Czech Republic, Sweden and Puerto Rico. Pool D has Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Poland and Jamaica. Pool E has Scotland, Hong Kong, Italy, Austria and Mexico. Pool F has Ireland, Korea, Latvia, the Netherlands and Peru.

Paul Speaker
San Diego Seals

Lacrosse has been growing in popularity around the country and worldwide, says Paul Speaker, president of the San Diego Seals and Host Committee Producer for the WLC.

The Seals are part of the 15-team National Lacrosse League, the world’s only professional box lacrosse league. (Box lacrosse is played inside the confines of an ice hockey rink – the Seals plays at Pechanga Arena.)

“Similar to soccer 30 or 40 years ago, there’s been a big rise in (interest in) lacrosse,” Speaker said. “In the last 20 years, and noticeably when Bill Tierney, a great coach at Princeton, moved to the University of Denver to coach there (in 2009), lacrosse’s popularity moved rapidly across the Mississippi. Colleges started to pick it up, then youth programs, and that’s how it has happened across the U.S., and around the world. The numbers have increased dramatically year over year.”

Speaker said the World Lacrosse organization is the sport’s direct contact with the International Olympic Committee. Lacrosse is expected to be at least a demonstration sport at the 2028 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

John Danowski
Head Coach
U.S. Men’s National Lacrosse Team

John Danowski, U.S. men’s national team head coach, said as the sport continues to evolve “there is no better place to host the World Lacrosse championship than San Diego.”

The 2023 World Lacrosse Men’s Championship will mark the 14th time the event has been staged. The American side has reached the finals in all 13 previous world championships, winning 10 world titles, including a 9-8 win over Canada in the last WLC, held in Netanya, Israel in 2018.

Single-day tickets and tournament-long passes to all 107 matches are on sale at worldlax2023.com

World Lacrosse

FOUNDED: 2008 (merger of men’s and women’s international federations, both founded in the 1970s)
CEO: Jim Scherr
HEADQUARTERS: Colorado Springs, CO
BUSINESS: International sports
WEBSITE: worldlacrosse.sport
CONTACT: info@worldlacrosse.sport
SOCIAL IMPACT: As the originators of lacrosse, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was granted membership in World Lacrosse in 1985, and has been competing as a full member since that time.
NOTABLE: World Lacrosse is the IOC-recognized international governing body for lacrosse and currently has 86 member federations across all five continental regions.


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