BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The eyes of the lacrosse world will be on Downtown Baltimore for the Men’s Lacrosse Final Four. The last time Maryland hosted the event was back in 2011.
As Gigi Barnett explains, ticket sales could soar again.
If crab cakes are Maryland’s signature dish, Lacrosse is its sport. This weekend, the NCAA’s championship tournament returns to Charm City, bringing with it a boost in visitors, dollars and excitement.
“We’re excited to be back here. It was a no-brainer to select them again,” said Anthony Holman, NCAA Lacrosse spokesperson.
Holman says a few years ago, Baltimore won the bid to host the tournament. His team was looking for a place that would attract fans by the thousands–Baltimore delivered.
“The Inner Harbor area for our fans. The convenience of the downtown hotels. The availability of flights into your airport. All of those things make this a very attractive location for us,” Holman said.
Another plus: M&T Bank Stadium. Duke player and Towson native Christian Walsh says he’s always wanted to play in the purple palace. This is his second time.
“I’m a huge Ed Reed fan. Huge Ray Lewis fan. I watched those guys for years and actually dreamed of playing in this stadium,” Walsh said. “Freshman year was an awesome experience. But this time around, hopefully I’m better able to enjoy the moment and really take it all in.”
The Duke Blue Devils are the defending champs this year. With local teams, like Maryland, vying for the top title, teams could see more fans filling stadium seats.
“To be in Baltimore, in our home state, it’s a thrill,” said Maryland head coach John Tillman. “I think it’s something these kids will always remember. Now we’ve got to do a good job of playing hard and playing well to give them something to cheer for.”
“All of a sudden, the potential to play in front of 20 or 25 or even 30,000 people… there’s really nothing you can say because you have nothing to compare it to,” said Duke head coach John Danowski. “Take a deep breath and really just savor and enjoy the experience.”
Back in 2007, the men’s lacrosse championship game broke attendance records in Baltimore. It drew more than 100,000 fans that weekend. They might be on track to do it again this weekend. Ticket sales are already up to 70,000.
Maryland, Denver, Duke and Notre Dame are in the Men’s Final Four lacrosse tournament. That championship game is Monday.
Towson University is hosting the women’s lacrosse championship tournament this weekend. The Maryland women take on Northwestern Friday night.
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