Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why Everett? Why not Vancouver????

View WLA and BC Jr. A teams in a larger map

As I'm sitting around on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I had this random thought - why is the NLL in Everett, Washington?
Last night, only 3,362 came to the Comcast Center to watch their defending NLL champion Stealth get spanked 16-9 by the Minnesota Swarm.
It's great to see box lacrosse in the Pacific Northwest. I like the idea of trying to sell the sport to markets that are more known for its field lacrosse.
But didn't the NLL learn anything from San Jose?
While in San Jose, the Stealth had solid teams, much like they do in Washington. Afterall, they are the defending NLL champions.
The only problem this franchise seems to have is drawing a big crowd.
Despite winning it all last season, the Stealth were last in average attendance with 3,945. While in San Jose, the Stealth finished first in the division in 2008, yet were a league-low in attendance with 3,895. In 2009 they were again in the basement, with a league-low 5,618 in average attendance.
Yes, league average attendance has dipped over the last several years, but when you have a championship team on the court, you shouldn't be last in attendance.
Instead of trying to force feed new box lacrosse fans with this great game, why not bolster league attendance by moving this team  in one of the sport's hot beds - British Columbia.
I'm more than certain the crowds would come to the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver to watch NLL action. People come in droves to watch their favourite WLA team play in the summer. Just imagine all of these WLA fans banding together for one team for a couple of months in the winter.
Sounds like a winning formula to me.
With pretty much every WLA team a stone's throw away, there's already a big time market for a professional lacrosse team in Vancouver. The Stealth would turn into the NLL's crown jewel.
Just a thought.

- Darryl Smart

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