Sunday, June 29, 2008

A matter of Pride for New Jersey's lacrosse team - Star Ledger

Sunday, June 29, 2008
Star-Ledger Staff

As Major League Lacrosse attempts to expand -- in number of teams as well as popularity -- the New Jersey Pride face growing pains. As a result, it is one of the franchises MLL Commissioner David Gross said the league is "monitoring."

"New Jersey is an interesting market to say the least," Gross said.

In 2007, the Pride ranked second-to-last in attendance, averaging 2,647 fans per game. In New Jersey's first two home games this season, the average crowd was 2,343 -- last in the league.

The Pride have played in four stadiums since 2001, so venue has been an ongoing battle. The current venue, Rutgers' Yurcak Field, boasts a top-notch playing surface, but has bleacher seating and is not permitted to sell beer. On the other hand, the team that draws the most fans, the Denver Outlaws, plays at INVESCO Field, where fans and players enjoy all the amenities of an NFL stadium -- including beer.

The Pride is also one of two MLL franchises not centered in a city -- the Long Island Lizards are the other -- and Pride acting GM Stephen Ferretti believes the commuter-driven crowd has taken a hit due to rising gas prices.

"But the biggest hurdle we have, being in the New York-area," Ferretti said, "is that we are in a super-saturated sports market."

This summer, Philadelphia is a road team, playing its "home games" at test markets including Dallas and Virginia Beach. Gross said the league hopes to add six new expansion teams over the next decade -- but there is always the possibility, he added, of a new market replacing a current one instead. . .

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Big East Lacrosse Debuts in 2010

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The BIG EAST Conference will formally begin sponsoring the sport of men's lacrosse beginning in the spring of 2010. The announcement about the Conference adding its 24th sport was made today by Commissioner Michael Tranghese following a unanimous vote by the league's 16 Directors of Athletics during their recent annual spring meeting.

The seven conference schools that will participate in the newly formed league are Georgetown, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, St. John's, Syracuse and Villanova. The teams will play a six-game single round-robin regular season schedule. The BIG EAST will apply for an automatic bid to the 16-team NCAA Championship field.

Syracuse won the 2008 NCAA Men's Lacrosse national title, the program's 10th, after earning an at-large bid as a Division I Independent. Notre Dame also garnered a berth into the national tournament as an automatic qualifier from the Great Western Lacrosse League. Currently, Georgetown, Rutgers and St. John's are part of the ECAC, Providence is a member of the MAAC and Villanova plays in the Colonial Athletic Association.

"We are looking forward to the excitement that men's lacrosse will bring to the BIG EAST Conference," said Commissioner Tranghese. "We have schools with established and successful programs, which want to come together and compete under the BIG EAST brand."

Men's lacrosse will be the BIG EAST's 11th men's sport while the Conference conducts 13 women's sports.