Phillylacrosse.com, posted 3/17/08
Lacrosse participation increased 12.8 percent in 2007, up from 11.7 percent in 2006, according to research by US Lacrosse for its annual participation report.
There were 480,627 lacrosse players that were members of organized teams across the country in 2007, from the youth level all the way on up through the professional ranks. High school participation saw the largest percentage of increase in participation over the past year, at 18.6 percent with 201,250 total players in 2007. The youth participation, however, continues to make up the largest part of the lacrosse community with 241,581 players in 2007.
Since 2001, the first year the US Lacrosse Participation Survey was published, the number of active players has grown 89.3 percent from 253,931 active players to 480,627 players in 2007. At the scholastic level, the combined numbers of boys and girls has risen from 100,925 to 201,250.
“It’s obviously very important to understand how and where the sport is growing so we can evaluate the success of our development initiatives and more effectively market the sport,” said Steve Stenersen, President and CEO of US Lacrosse. “Over the past decade, US Lacrosse has invested millions of dollars in human and programmatic resources to support the sport’s continued national expansion, and we’re pleased to see these positive results.”
The US Lacrosse Participation Survey is produced annually by US Lacrosse. The survey is used to monitor participation at different levels of the sport across the country. The primary source of data for this report are surveys completed by the 58 US Lacrosse regional chapters that were active in 2007. Data is also used from the US Lacrosse database, National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Federation of State High School Associations, Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association and laxpower.com.
The survey counts only participation on organized teams and does not include leisure time play of lacrosse.
In recent years lacrosse has seen expansion at the collegiate, professional and international levels, but the epicenter of the growth has come at the youth and high school levels. More than 90 percent of the current players are in high school or younger and new programs are being developed all over the country.
Lacrosse also has a greater spotlight in the public eye. Collegiate lacrosse has a significant presence on CSTV and the ESPN networks with more than 60 games being televisednationally and numerous others showing on local and regional broadcasts. Major League Lacrosse also has a weekly game of the week package on ESPN2.
The sport also receives additional exposure through several print and Internet-based publications, including Lacrosse magazine, a monthly periodical that is mailed to each of the 250,000-plus US Lacrosse members; Lacrosse Magazine Online (www.laxmagazine.com), a news-based Web site; and the US Lacrosse Web site (www.uslacrosse.org), which provides extensive background information about the sport and the various US Lacrosse initiatives to help develop the sport. In 2007, the two US Lacrosse Web sites averaged more than 120,000 unique visitors each month.