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Growing The Game: ESPN Attacks On Lax

When the World Wide Leader has your back then you know you have it made. Why ESPN is banking on lacrosse to succeed.

This lacrosse season is a little different than years past and it isn’t just because of the new head regulations.  No, this season is unlike any other because for the first time lacrosse is available to mass audiences on a regular basis.

You’ve probably noticed that during the week and especially on weekends there is a constant steam of lacrosse on TV.  A little on the CBS College Sports channels that hide in the nether regions of the cable listings, but even more on the WWL’s up and coming ESPNU college specific network.

If you don’t realize right away how big of a deal this is then you need to grab another cup of coffee and while you’re at it tell the nearest co-worker to go all Rick James slap happy on your face.  Consistent TV coverage is another baby step towards getting lacrosse up to the next level.

Naysayers might complain that not enough games are on HD and to them I say patience. It will come.  And when lacrosse does get widespread, consistent HD coverage (not just for the National championship) it will improve the watchability of the sport by leaps and bounds for casual fans.  HD makes some sports just better to watch.  See the mini-renaissance professional hockey is experiencing for one recent example.

ESPN holds all the chips in the sports broadcasting department and it should be widely celebrated that they are looking to lacrosse as an avenue of growth on their path towards total global, absolute sporting domination.  If the World Wide Leader is on your side then what do you really have to worry about? When they get to ESPN10 ” The Diez” it could be all lax all the time.

In a recent article, Media Week broke down exactly how much ESPN is banking on lacrosse:

ESPN is blowing up  its college lacrosse coverage, with plans to carry 40 regular-season men’s NCAA Division I games as well as all 15 postseason contests…

This year’s schedule has been beefed up 33 percent from the 30 regular season lacrosse games ESPNU carried during the 2009 campaign. The network also will produce four additional high-def telecasts, bringing its total HD load to 16 contests.

Sean Bratches, evp of sales and marketing, ESPN, said the company’s bet on lacrosse is a function of the sport’s burgeoning popularity with younger audiences. “When we look to the future, when we look at areas that offer growth opportunities, we see lacrosse,” Bratches said. “The sport has started injecting itself into the DNA of our corporate culture.”

Full Media Week article

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