Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore is about to get flooded by lacrosse fans and money. The NCAA tournament is back in Charm City.
Kai Jackson explains this is a big business for Baltimore.
The games are still two days away, and already Baltimore is transforming itself into a lacrosse town.
M & T Bank Stadium is buzzing with activity, but it’s not football related. They’re prepping for the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four and Championship.
Baltimore is proudly rolling out the welcome mat.
The University of Maryland lacrosse team plays Duke in the Final Four.
“We take a lot of pride in our state. We hope we have a huge crowd to be there and help us out,” said John Tillman, University of Maryland lacrosse coach.
A big crowd means big bucks for the host city, and businesses recognize that. Hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues all stand to benefit. Visitors and locals are in town spending money.
“So you’re gonna get a lot of people driving in overnight and staying in hotel rooms,” said Mike Evitts, Downtown Baltimore Partnership. “And it’s not just one or two people. People are going to bring their kids. They’re going to bring everyone in, so that’s meals in restaurants, that’s drinks in bars, that’s T-shirts and souvenirs.”
Downtown leaders are reluctant to talk about how much money the lacrosse championship will bring in for the city and state, but they believe it will be significant.
The Maryland Office of Sports Management tells Eyewitness News that the lacrosse Final Four brought in $14.9 million in 2010. The office estimates this year the tournament will see in excess of 100,000 fans, who will spend $15-$18 million.
“I think it’s great for the city, especially great for us businesses downtown. We love when they come in, bring in money, have a great time. It’s great for Baltimore in general,” said Marcus Garner, B&O Restaurant.
The NCAA Lacrosse Championship is Monday, Memorial Day at 3:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium.