The NCAA has selected Denver to host two upcoming sporting events: The 2015 NCAA men’s lacrosse quarterfinals and the 2016 NCAA Division II Spring Sports Festival.
The lacrosse selection continues Denver’s growing reputation as one of the go-to lacrosse cities of America. In the last nine years, Denver has hosted three Major League Lacrosse All-Star Games, two National Lacrosse League All-Star Games, and in 2014 will host the FIL World Lacrosse Championships.
The bid to host the event was submitted by Denver Sports, an affiliate of Visit Denver, in partnership with the University of Denver Athletics and Recreation, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Denver Broncos and Denver Outlaws. The 2015 NCAA men’s lacrosse quarterfinals will be played in Sports Authority Field at Mile High, home of the Denver Outlaws.
“We are thrilled the NCAA has entrusted Denver to host this event,” said Ken Chin, executive director of Denver Sports. “This decision is a testament to the hard work put forth by our city’s grassroots lacrosse community, Denver’s two professional lacrosse teams – the Denver Outlaws and the Colorado Mammoth – and to the lacrosse program built by the University of Denver Pioneers head lacrosse coach, Hall of Famer, Bill Tierney.”
Assisting in the bid was Tierney, who said, “Everyone associated with lacrosse in Denver should be very excited about this announcement, and I thank all that worked so hard to make it happen. The opportunity to host such meaningful Division I games in the NCAA tournament is something we will embrace to make the experience second to none. Our guests, visitors and television viewers will assuredly get to find out why Denver is truly ‘The Lacrosse Capital of the West.”
According to Chin, the popularity of lacrosse in Colorado has been exploding in recent years. The Denver Outlaws have led the MLL in attendance for seven straight years and there are now more than 11,600 Colorado students playing lacrosse, almost double the amount in 2006.
“The increasing popularity of lacrosse in Colorado was one of the key factors in Denver being chosen to host the 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships, and no doubt also played a significant role in the NCAA’s selection today,” Chin said.
He added that being strongly associated with a growing sport is a real positive for the city. “Denver will receive national television coverage and exposure from both the FIL World Lacrosse Championships and NCAA men’s lacrosse quarterfinals, and we’re confident our local lacrosse community will come out and support both of these events.”
Denver’s second award was for the 2016 NCAA DII Spring Sports Festival, a six-day event that will be held in The Mile High City for the first time. The Spring Sports Festival includes six championships (men’s golf, women’s golf, women’s lacrosse, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, and softball) rolled into one event. A unique feature of the sports event is that all teams stay for the entire six-day festival, even if their team has been eliminated, thereby increasing the number of overnight stays and the economic impact.
“The NCAA’s decision to bring this event to Denver is a testament to the leadership of Metropolitan State University’s president, Stephen Jordan, and to the quality of their athletic program, led by their director of athletics, Joan McDermott,” Chin said.
The 2016 NCAA DII Spring Sports Festival is the only place in the NCAA where six champions will be crowned in a single event. The festival experience provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of more than 1,000 DII student-athletes from more than seventy schools. In addition to high-level athletic competition, the NCAA also recognizes academic achievement in the various sports represented at the festival.
“This is a very prestigious opportunity for our university to host the Spring Sports Festival,” McDermott said. “Denver Sports has worked tirelessly on this bid and we are excited for the exposure for our brand new athletics facility as a result. The softball, lacrosse and tennis championships will all be played at The Regency Athletic Complex at MSU Denver on our campus.”
More information at www.visitdenver.com/denversports.