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Sports Business Lunch: Lacrosse's growth and a look at Maryland sports power brokers

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Sports business lunch is a collection of business stories from Baltimore and the rest of the country.

From The Sun:

Lacrosse’s growth has been astounding. Deadspin best illustrated this with a map showing the spread of the college game over the last decade. (The site used data from The Growth Blog, another fascinating resource for tracking the way lacrosse has moved across the country.) US Lacrosse, tucked in a building next to Homewood Field – you’ve likely seen the statue of Native Americans out front playing the game – has driven and managed that growth. It has called Baltimore home for 15 years now, though CEO and President Steve Stenersen began discussions about forming the organization several years before the merger of eight groups came through. I took a look at what’s next for US Lacrosse in Sunday’s paper.

National governing bodies have a more difficult job than ever, given the intense focus on youth sports. Parents are spending more time and money than ever before, and are more invested than ever in ensuring their kids win and develop into “elite” players. Stenersen is among several leaders who have cautioned against this development; USA Hockey has even started suggesting players don’t focus on hockey. It has suggested that leagues stop focusing on full-ice games and play on smaller rinks, while also allowing for more practice than games. ESPN took a look at the response to that move.

Elsewhere in Baltimore:

Marty Conway, a former executive with IMRE’s sports division, has compiled a ranking of the Top 13 Sports Power Players in Maryland. Conway calculated scores based on his own formula. It’s worth a look, and possibly some debate. Ray Lewis’ local business ventures haven’t stuck, but it’s hard to believe there’s a more marketable athlete today in Baltimore. He’s not on the list. Ron Shaprio is, based largely on the way he helped shaped the Baltimore sports scene years ago.

Baltimore Business Journal reports the Orioles have slipped in popularity among our fellow Americans. It’s quite difficult to read much into this; the poll included just over 2,000 people. Besides, the O’s are wedged between the hugely popular Phillies and the still-young Nationals. The rise of Manny Machado, especially, should help the Orioles grab more fans in years to come.

In San Diego:

The new owners of San Diego’s daily newspaper have not been shy about saying they favor the construction of a new stadium, even if it is largely funded using public funds. The newspaper printed this story on that issue last week.

Deadspin and Neil de Mause, co-author of Field of Schemes and the foremost expert on these shenanigans, ripped the idea -- and the reporting -- apart.

One of the benefits brought by a new stadium, according to a Chargers executive, is more jobs. But is the economy really going to recover because a few  more people get a chance to sell hot dogs about 10 times a year?

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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