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.

Comments (3)
  1. williejoe says:

    This is a big deal event. The amount of $$ spent & the prestige of having it in Baltimore resonates throughout the country if you’re a Lacrosse follower. The sport is growing by leaps & bounds & even a Mid West team Denver is in the final four. This is used to be a east coast exclusive but it’s popularity has made it a fan favorite. I hope the fans can enjoy the games, restaurants, hotels & downtown venues without fear of muggers, gangs & thieves. Commissioner Bealfeld & Mayor Rawlings Blake, it’s time to step up & dust off the old city gal & make her shine in the national spotlight two weeks in a row. Hey, it’s all we got at present so let’s make the most out of it. I have family playing in these games.Go guys, go Maryland.

  2. kira says:

    Stop by the Baltimore-based but national non-profit US Lacrosse /Lacrosse Magazine tailgate in Lot H, Tent E on Saturday from noon until 3:30 pm. We’ll have food, drinks and fun stuff going on.

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