Wednesday, 30 September 2009

US cavalry arrives

Just 9 months to go to 2010 World Championships!!

Such a lot to do and a lot of big decisions still to make . This weeks toughie is how many seats to put around the stadium field where all the big games will take place. We had always thought that 5,000 would be more than enough, and it probably will be for most days, but the high rate of sign up for the FIL Festival is making us think again. With 30 teams still being the planning figure for the World Championships this means that we have to find a guaranteed 1,000 seats for players, coaches, officials and VIPs. However we have neary 70 teams already registered for the Festival , and with Festival teams being offered an upgrade from their Festival pass to an all games pass that means a possible 2,000 other seats are taken , leaving only2,000 other seats for the supporters and fans. If only half the Festival players bring another person with them and the Championship players each bring one person be it family. friends or supporters than that is all the seats taken care of and there could be a scenario where Final and even Semi Final tickets do not go on general sale .

Season tickets (all game passes) have just gone on sale so the message we have to get out is buy early , not only to take advantage of the early bird discount but also to make sure you get a ticket for one of Lacrosse'e great games.

International Lacrosse is continuing to grow and only this week English Lacrosse voted to accept Mexico as the latest member of the FIL so may be they will make it to Manchester. Some of the European nations have yet to register their intention to play but we know that France (they have just played in the Celtic Cup in Edinburgh), Spain and Norway have recently taken part in international tournaments. We have heard that Argentina are holding practices and it would be good to see South American teams in action . We suspect that Costa Rica and Guatamala , who have just played their first game are not ready for top level play but maybe next time , particularly if US are confirmed as 2014 hosts.

The work still to do is prodigious amount of work to do but we have just had a new recruit in the ELA office. Sarah Oglesby has just joined us from US Lacrosse where she headed their major events team and she will probably be familiar to those who attend the Coaches Convention in Jan in US. Sarah was the lead organiser of the 2005 Women's World Cup in Annapolis and has lots of experience of big events so she will be a tremendous asset to us. We have all been telling her what a great city Manchester is so she has come to find out. If you bump into Sarah around please make her welcome and ask her about the World Championships.

The new season has just started and it is a little scary to think it will be the last before the World championships.

Monday, 7 September 2009

It feels like we have a big event on our hands!

You definitely get the feeling that we have a big event on our hands. We have often said , perhaps with a slight bit of tongue in cheek, that the FIL 2010 Men's Lacrosse World Champonship will be the biggest sports event to be held in Manchester since the Commonwealth games in 2002.

However, with over 1,000 players and officials in the Championship , around 3,000 possible entrants in the Festival, some 40,000 spectators expected and an economic impact on the region of around £7,000,000 no-one is able to tell me which event has been bigger than Lacrosse will be.

What is really exciting is that the planning figures that we worked on 4 years ago are becoming more and more realistic . We are seeing continuing growth in international Lacrosse and it is exciting to here of Costa Rica playing Guatamala , and although these two in particular will probably not make it to Manchester it is certain that there will be 26-28 teams taking part. Equally exciting is that we set a target of 64 teams in the eight Divisions of the FIL Festival and it looks very much as if that number , at least, will be achieved. With nearly 10 months to go we have 45 teams registered to play and another 18 showing serious interest. The message is clear -if you want to be part of 2010 then you need to make sure that you have secured your spot.

Since the Official Event Launch in July we now have season tickets on sale at special "early bird" discount prices ; a range of World Championship merchandise for sale on the web and travel and hotel deals available through our travel partner ATP.

The real worry is becoming that given we have a big event on our hands can we actually make it into a great event which showcases top class Lacrosse, gives every one in Lacrosse the chance to enjoy a memorable lifetime experience and make a lot of money to reinvest in the game. It certainly can be done but it will only happen if we can get more money to invest in the event from funders and sponsors and enthuse a committed team of volunteers. Over the next couple of months we will be starting a drive to recruit the volunteer team we will need and which will be the key to the success of 2010 .

We do have a really big event on our hands and with a bit of luck and an awful lot of hardwork it could be a great event.