Commentary

2012 MCLA Tournament – A Decision’s Odyssey

lebron-posnanski
Written by Patton

If you follow the MCLA, you probably know that this is the last year the tournament will be held in Denver, Colorado, at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Park complex.  Let’s see where it can wander to next!

On February 7th, the MCLA released the criteria for bids to host the 2012 MCLA tournament.  The criteria are comprehensive, approachable, and realistic.  All bids must be submitted for consideration by April 1, 2011.  You can read the full press release about the search for bids here.

This search for bids, and the transparent, comprehensive approach the league has taken, is a masterful stroke by the MCLA.  There should be an increase in the number of potentially acceptable sites proposing to host the event.  An increase in proposals means an increase in each bid’s competitiveness, which means that WE ALL win with a more professional and exciting MCLA Tournament week.

So now to the fun part: Where will the MCLA Tournament take it’s talents in 2012?

Hmmmm...South Beach?

OK, South Beach would be stupid.  And so would a lot of other proposed sites so far.  And by proposed I mean casually suggested in forum discussions.

This is the first step in a longer process, but let’s take a very superficial look at potential cities to host the tournament.

I have one major criterion that I used to narrow down potential host cities:

MUST be a city with a major hub airport (of the four major airlines, Delta, Southwest, United, American) or reasonably be considered a suburb of one of those cities (e.g. Arlington to Dallas).

This is crucial because the MCLA serves such a disparate base of teams in both financial and geographic terms.  The city must be easily reachable either by road (interstate) or by plane.  Hub cities not only provide the greatest amount of cost effective flight options, they also will surely have the necessary hotel infrastructure to accommodate all teams and fans.  It should be noted the MCLA Tournament has never been held at a site that is not situated in a major hub city.

You can find my super-scientific resource for hub cities here.

Can/Should this City host the 2012 MCLA Tournament?

  1. Atlanta – Yes
  2. Memphis – No
  3. Dallas – It can, but shouldn’t, had it in 2008, No
  4. Salt Lake City – Yes
  5. Los Angeles – Yes
  6. Washington, DC – Potentially should, but no sites to make it feasible, so No
  7. Detroit – Hmmmm…geographically not awful, but are there any sites? No
  8. New York City – No (We’ll explain the Far East Coast cities below)
  9. Minneapolis – Same as Dallas, No
  10. Chicago – Yes
  11. Miami – Heck No
  12. Denver – Same as Minneapolis and Dallas, No
  13. San Francisco – Yes

Hmmmmm, interesting list

Why No on the Far East Coast cities like NYC?  It’s Old Lax country.  You’ve got no buzz about a virtual varsity league.  They don’t even know what that phrase means.  Good luck advertising that event.  Also, you’ve got a three hour time LOSS for a bunch of teams, as opposed to a three hour time GAIN if you move West.  Yes I know it’s a week long tournament.  But I am lazy and I live on the West Coast.  (See how the argument for the tournament site can be petty?)

There have also been tangential discussions about a potential bid in Seattle.  While being truly lazy and located in the Pacific Northwest, I can still be somewhat objective and realize that no one outside of the PNCLL representatives will be happy about a Pacific Northwest bid.  Let’s nip that in the bud right here right now.

OK, so after a pretty-darn reasonable trimming of sites based on logistical feasibility and past hosting duties, you’re left with this list of potential sites:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • San Francisco, CA

Could this be the place?

All five of those cities are burgeoning lacrosse communities.  They all have airports that offer a variety of cost-effective flight options for all MCLA teams.  They are all located nearby major MCLA fanbases that can support the event and bring others.  And they are all pretty cool cities.  There’s a lot that goes into this decision, and I am really excited at the way the league is approaching the search for potential sites.

(I could also be convinced on Detroit if there’s a site that I don’t know about in the area.)

But outside of those 5 potential sites, I don’t know of any other cities that really make sense for the MCLA.

If Vegas had odds on this, I’d bet a whole lotta money on the 2012 MCLA Tournament being in one of those five cities.  You think I’m crazy?  Let me know why.

About the author

Patton

Patton was head coach at Willamette University for five seasons, where he was named the 2008 PNCLL Div 2 Coach of the Year. In addition to following the MCLA avidly, he is now an official for high school lacrosse in Oregon.

25 Comments

  • I like the idea of the Tournament coming to Salt Lake City because I live there, but I just don’t see it happening. I don’t think having the Tournament in a city similar to Denver as far as weather is going to be a popular vote as well as the fact that no one is putting together a bid to the best of my knowledge. There are several other criteria as well that doesn’t make SLC the right place (pun intended). My vote is for LA or Atlanta.

    • Having grown up in Salt Lake City I can confirm the weather is way way different from Denver. Denver sucks in many regards, one of those being the fact that people perceive it to be some mountainous wonderland when in fact it’s a glorified high-plains junction with an airport.

      Obviously, the lack of an organizing committee will be the real killer, but the valley provides a much more neutral climate and weather conditions when compared to the wide-open Denver area.

      I feel like this is something Mason Goodhand would be all over :)

    • Atlanta would be an ideal location in terms of flights, hotels, etc. The main problem I’ve come across is finding a facility in ATL, that could accommodate the first part of the tournament. You also are dealing with the 3 hour time difference for teams out west.

  • My vote is with Denver to continue hosting (there’s nothing official to veto that, is there?)

    Here’s why:

    It’s a lacrosse hotbed, and it is receptive to MCLA lacrosse. CSU and Colorado both have large followings. They both scrimmage NCAA team in the area. There’s tons of lil’ laxers just dying to bring their favorite game spoon out to a collegiate game.

    I think the MCLA needs to take a long hard look at why we are not drawing more casual fans in Denver. It’s the ideal location, but almost no one outside of each team’s fans shows up to even the finals. Why not? It’s not Baltimore where the snobs are going to be looking down their noses at “club” lax. It’s not the middle of nowhere. What’s the problem? 50K show up for NCAA D3. You’re telling me we can’t get 10% of that?

    Denver is centrally located, nice weather (except last year), big town. Why is everyone dying to move? Denver is not the issue.

    • I agree with you to a degree. Denver has been great. The facilities are top notch. I wrote this under the assumption that the MCLA EB is looking for a “new” site. If they are not, then I agree 100% that Denver is the best darn thing going!

      To address attendance issues: I have discussed in other forums the lack of an integrated marketing campaign built around the event. You will hopefully see my fingerprints on a plan for upcoming tournaments.

    • Great comment.

      Marketing, marketing, marketing! How does the league currently get the word
      out about the national tourney in Denver? Have they hired a local event
      promoter? What about running ads during Mammoth games? Any idea how much a
      ticket to the championship game has gone for in the past?

      If anyone knows the answers to these questions, please shout!

  • Yeah, I don’t think you can say “Heck no” to Miami but still include Hotlanta. In my mind sitting in the Pac NW they are both the same distance (read time zone). Now if only Hawaii were an option….also I truly hope the NW isn’t off the map even if it is that a bid is placed and returned to at a later date years down the road.

    • Agreed that Miami and Atlanta are negligible in distance relative to the NW. However, they are not at all negligible in terms of flight availability. You can get tons more direct flights to Hartsfield (US largest and busiest airport) than Miami.

      Also, you know how pale I am, I hate beaches…

  • Bring it to atlanta area. Not necessarily atlanta, but the surrounding area north of the actual city, acres and acres and acres of fieldspace, its ridiculous sometimes. The people in the burbs outside atlanta have no idea what to do with the space they have. Plus, you could have the finals somewhere really cool like the Dome.

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