The 2006 World Games Bidding Process Is Missing One Key Thing: Bids
By Nelson Coffin
With little over a month remaining before official bids for the 2006 World Championships are due, the cupboard is bare. No bids have been submitted, leaving a void in which the game's centerpiece is supposed to fit. There is no panic over the issue at this juncture, yet the sport would be hard-pressed (and probably embarrassed) to forego its main event due to a lack of enthusiasm from potential hosts. The problems revolving around staging lacrosse's marquee matches comes down to, naturally, money- or rather the prospect of losing boatloads of it. That's likely what happened in Perth in July, according to Executive Director of USLacrosse Steve Stenerson. "It's a typical issue in that it's become so expensive," Stenerson explained. "Australia did a wonderful job, considering there are only about 200 field lacrosse players in Western Australia, but they probably lost a lot of money doing it." Will other nations be willing to risk a loss in these troubled financial times?
USLacrosse's Steve Stenerson in Perth
So far, potential bids from a couple of sites in Canada (British Columbia or London, Ontario) have been rumored. The London Free Press reported that a group from that city had finalized a bid and intimated that an offer to host the games was imminent, although neither Stenerson nor any other USLacrosse official had been contacted by the Canadian group, thought to be headed by Tim Hobbs. The United Kingdom was also pondering a bid for Manchester, England or somewhere in Wales. Berlin was also thought to be a possibility, as is Adelaide, Australia. Still, nothing has been secured and that makes Stenerson a little apprehensive about the process and its tricky timetable. "It's not an ideal situation," said Stenerson about the task of housing 650 players from 18 nations and 150 officials. "Because in '98 (at Johns
Hopkins) we needed all four years to prepare for it. There are a lot of things to take care of. It's like having a wedding. You have to have a church and a place for a reception. And you need to have it far in advance."
Fields and stands aren't the only facilities needed to host a games
The U.S. will not vie for the opportunity to host the worlds, seeing as how the Under-19 men's and women's world championships will be held at Towson University next summer and the Women's World Cup will be held at the same site two years later. "We just can't do it," Stenerson said. "We're overloaded now. Nobody else bid for the Under-19's, so we did. But we just can't do any more." If any bids are forthcoming, they must be submitted with financial and site location capabilities to the International Lacrosse Federation competition committee by November 1.
Just part of the media information staff at the Perth Games
The bids will be evaluated and discussed by a conference call a month later. The site would then be announced on or about Dec 15. That's the best-case scenario, and one that appears to be in jeopardy at the moment unless some willing nation steps to the forefront to save the worlds. "This is a great open market to show off sports equipment. Hospitality people in the city are already on side," Hobbs told the London Free Press. "And there is absolutely no risk to the city." Hobbs, contrary to Stenerson's view, estimated that the event would inject "a couple of million dollars" into the city's economy, according to the paper. While a couple of million dollars may be a stretch, even a break-even scenario would appeal at this point to the ILF and a bid from Canada, or anyone, for that matter, would be very welcome.
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