Lacrosse

If you are in search of a fresh idea for your recreation center, this is definitely it. Known as the oldest sport in North America, lacrosse is popular among men and women of all ages. According to the National Lacrosse League, the sport has become one of the fastest-growing in the last 10 years, with a 24.4 percent increase in men’s and an 83.3 percent increase in women’s lacrosse.

So how do you bring the action to your facility? Finding how to begin a league, and actually doing so, can introduce the recreation center to several new patrons.

Play The Field

Lacrosse has two playing areas–indoor and outdoor–depending on the type of fitness and recreation center. An indoor league is probably safer and appeals to a wider variety of patrons. However, if the interest is there, an outdoor league is not a bad idea. Find out what is more likely to succeed in your area by calling and asking around. Search for local teams or leagues to see what seems to be the most popular.

Typically, men’s teams are composed of 10 players on the field—three attackers, three midfielders free to roam the field and three defenders and one goaltender. In women’s lacrosse, there are two additional midfielders per team. In trying to determine the type of turf, the number of players may want to be considered to ensure the facility can accommodate them.

Adopt A League

Once the location of the lacrosse team is determined, consider outsourcing. If a local team is established, consider adopting the league. These teams are already accustomed to purchasing their own equipment, but your facility can house the team–resulting in revenue from other purchases–or begin purchasing their equipment for them to pass on savings and gather revenue through resale. This is perhaps one of the few times outsourcing is right. If your facility has no expertise, what better way to gain publicity and help the community than to adopt a lacrosse league?

If unable to adopt a league, you must begin advertising immediately. It will probably take six months to a year to really get going once word gets out in the community. A good way to expedite this is to release information to the press. While you will want to advertise in your own facility, getting the word out in the local news is more widespread. If you are having difficulty getting the newspaper or local news to cover the story, consider writing a press release and send it along with great photos.

Schedule Software

If you have adopted a league, make sure to equip your facility with the proper abilities to schedule playing time. One of the best ways to do this is a software program. Keeping track of playing time and fields can become an absolute nightmare, and investing in proper software will help.

If your facility is large and will be offering several types of leagues, registration times and equipment sales, one of the best types of software is www.bestleaguesoftware.com. This software is the most user-friendly solution to mass-league registration and play-time scheduling. It can assist with online registration, payments and even pages for information about each league. It also can assist with increased revenue. Offering a local company a link on your Web site in exchange for financial assistance or discounts on equipment is a great marketing tool for both entities.

Get In The Game

Lacrosse is gaining in popularity, and it is a terrific outlet for boys and girls. If your facility is located near a college, university or high school that offers lacrosse, chances are you really need a league to cater to those out of college or children wanting additional playing time. If you don’t have one near you, why not start? Log on to www.nll.com to learn more about the National Lacrosse League and how your facility can jump into the action.

Kati Trammel is the advertising and public relations account executive for MCCS Marketing, Semper Fit Retail, Food and Beverage, based in Okinawa, Japan. She can be reached at katitram@yahoo.com.

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Estimated Number of U.S. Lacrosse Players in 2006

Youth (non-high school, age 15 and under)………. 220,797

High School…………………………………………169,625

College……………………………………………….26,651

Post-Collegiate Club…………………………………..8,649

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