Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lacrosse: Canada's First Game

We have been bantering around some random thoughts on the topic of improving Lacrosse for the better. Obviously everyone has their own "Big picture" ideas and realistically, very few of them will happen because this sport changes at a sub-glacial pace.

There has been an interesting discussion recently on the Unofficial OLA Fan Forum (the wild, wild west of Lacrosse fandom) about promoting the sport beyond the traditional communities (mostly caucasian and natives) in Ontario. You can follow everything here if you want to catch up to speed:

Ron Messer is right. We don't do a bad job of marketing to new immigrant communities...we don't do the job AT ALL. The core GTA is one huge market in Canada and recent statistics show that more and more immigrants are settling in this area and yet we have failed to even attempt to bring them out to Lacrosse. It's not a failure of promotion, it is that we have not even tried...which is even worse.

I have a good friend who was born in Hong Kong but has lived in Canada since he was a toddler. I worked him hard to come watch a game. It took a few years but he finally relented and showed up to a Junior B game I was coaching. He even brought his oldest son. They both enjoyed the game and could see the merits of playing or being a fan. His son has not played and they have not been to a game since then but no sport is for "every person". The real key is what he said to me a few weeks after. When I asked what he thought he mentioned "All I saw were white people and no other races. The game is great but when you are new to a country you search out for some comfort in seeing people "like" you."

Here we are sitting with a marketing plan to a dwindling proportion of the populace (Toronto now over 50% non-caucasian). It is nice to have pie but over time our slice of the pie gets smaller and smaller all because we CHOOSE to limit our market. We CHOOSE to limit our growth. Maybe it is time we CHOOSE to make a change and be encouraging of participation from new Canadians to the greatest game of Canada.

So join us in this new movement. We've coined a new marketing slogan for the game "Lacrosse: Canada's First Game" to replace "The Fastest Game on Two Feet" which has been used for over 30 years now. If you speak another language, translate the new slogan and post it in the comments below or tweet it out with the hashtag #newlaxslogan. We will RT everyone who uses it.

The onus for promoting the game does not fall on the governing body, it falls on everyone who participates in the game. The goal is to have 3% of registrations from visible minorities by 2020. A few hundred more players means a few thousand more fans of the game.