Hoping to capitalize on its lacrosse legacy, fan base and logistical advantages, Baltimore is among the final four contenders trying to land the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament for 2010 through 2012.
Yesterday, a Baltimore group that included representatives from the Ravens, the Maryland Stadium Authority and the city made an oral presentation to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Committee at the Marriott Waterfront downtown. The lacrosse championship was last held at M&T Bank Stadium in 2007.
Other locations making pitches yesterday included the Meadowlands in New Jersey, Denver and the Boston area. The NCAA is expected to announce its decision in early January.
The Ravens are involved and, in fact, took the lead in pushing for the championship event because the pro football franchise is the main tenant at M&T Bank Stadium, where the three-day lacrosse tournament would be played, "and because of their commitment and loyalty to their hometown," said Terry Hasseltine, director of the Maryland Office of Sports Marketing.
Mark Burdett, Ravens vice president of corporate sales and development, said among Baltimore's selling points are its rich history in lacrosse, the availability of hotels and practice facilities, and the city's convenient location on the Eastern Seaboard.
"We're excited about this opportunity to help bring this event back to the city and state where it belongs," Burdett said. "We are confident we'll be given fair consideration."
Baltimore's bid is for any or all of the three lacrosse championships from 2010 through 2012. The tournament is played over Memorial Day weekend and consists of the Division I semifinals and finals Saturday and Monday and the Division II and Division III championships Sunday.
The last time Baltimore was the host city was in 2007, when a record announced 123,215 fans attended the event. M&T Bank Stadium was also the site of the championship in 2003 and 2004. The 2008 NCAA lacrosse championships were at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., near Boston, and next year's event will also be held there. In 2005 and 2006, the tournament was in Philadelphia.
This coming lacrosse season, M&T Bank Stadium will be the site of the Faceoff Classic on Feb. 28, featuring Maryland against Duke and Johns Hopkins versus Princeton, and for a doubleheader April 11 featuring Army-Navy and Johns Hopkins-Maryland.