Youth lacrosse tournaments provide young athletes with the opportunity to expand their skills, face new competition, and experience new places. When planning a youth lacrosse tournament, the most important step is securing the right venue. Where you play is one of the first decisions of the planning process and sets the tone for the rest of the tournament. With an array of lacrosse tournament venues across the country, tournament organizers may not know where to begin in choosing one.
Here are six tips to choose the best venue for your lacrosse tournament.
Start With Location
The first consideration when choosing a tournament venue is the location. The location of the tournament can be a draw for teams to travel from around the region or even from across the country to attend the tournament. Consider a location that has good weather and is a place people want to travel. Good weather increases the chance that the tournament will continue without contingencies and makes for a great playing experience. Other local attractions can also entice teams and spectators to come and gives them something to do when they aren’t busy with practices and tournament games. Future Legends is located in beautiful Northern Colorado, home to 300 days of sunshine a year. Aside from the state-of-the-art facility, there are numerous attractions within a short driving distance, including the spectacular Rocky Mountains. Future Legends is a leading lacrosse sports venue in Colorado. A great Colorado location is sure to be a draw for teams.
Another consideration with location is accessibility. An ideal venue is easy to get to and doesn’t require teams to drive long distances from the airport. The venue should be accessible to freeways and easy to get to without teams and spectators getting lost or stuck in traffic. Future Legends is conveniently located in Windsor, Colorado, just east of I-25. Future Legends is less than an hour drive from Denver International Airport, making it accessible for teams coming from all over Colorado and the country.
Next, Consider Size
Aside from location, the next consideration to finding the right venue is considering the size. The size of a venue will limit how many teams and spectators can attend, which then impacts the size of the tournament and how much money it earns. A larger venue can hold more teams, which can create a larger tournament that has the potential to become well-known in the lacrosse community. A larger venue will also have more room for spectators, including family, friends, and other coaches and scouts. On the flip side, a smaller venue will limit how many teams can attend but could potentially create a more exclusive tournament.
As you look for potential venues, consider realistically how large or small you want your tournament to be. A larger tournament requires more support staff, communication, marketing, and prizes, but it also has the potential for a huge payout and to become a premier youth lacrosse tournament. But if you don’t have the resources to support a large tournament, you could end up with only a few teams playing in a large venue, which could potentially cause you to lose revenue and credibility. Create a plan for how many teams and spectators you can manage and find a venue that supports those numbers. Future Legends has the ability to suit all your tournament needs, whether large or small.
Work Within Your Budget
It costs money to put on a quality youth lacrosse tournament. Much of that money is recouped in registration fees and merchandise sales, but the up-front cost is still a consideration for tournament organizers. Set a budget and look for venues that will fit within your limits. Some venues offer a variety of packages at different price points for tournaments, with the more expensive packages including more amenities and resources. Ask potential venues what is included in the cost and if there are any additional costs that could be incurred later that you will need to plan for.
The budget also includes the registration fee for teams and players. You want to charge enough to at least earn back what you have put into the tournament, but a registration price that is too high can be a deterrent to teams attending. Many venues, including Future Legends, have fundraising plans already in place that teams can use to raise money to travel to the tournament. These programs make it easier for teams to earn money for registration and travel costs and can increase the number of teams that are able to attend the tournament. Ask potential venues about their fundraising programs and what resources they have to organize a tournament within budget.
Look for Player Amenities
One of the biggest reasons to participate in a youth lacrosse tournament is for players to experience next-level facilities, including great fields, practice areas, and equipment. Player amenities are what make a tournament great for teams and coaches and provide them with an experience they can’t get anywhere else.
The biggest consideration for play amenities is the fields themselves. Look for a venue that has high-quality fields that are well maintained so that players have a great place to play. You may also want to make sure there are enough fields for all of your games so that multiple teams can be playing at once. Future Legends features 12 multi-purpose outdoor fields, which allows for 24 teams to be playing games at once on fields that are meticulously maintained. Check with potential venues about their contingency plans for bad weather. A venue can have a great field, but if they don’t have a contingency plan, that field could be wasted in bad weather. Future Legends has a large indoor bubble dome that makes it possible for games to continue even during inclement weather.
Another consideration is the practice areas. Teams will want a place they can run drills and practice before games. Practice areas also offer the potential for workshops and other breakout sessions with all tournament participants together. Look at the locker room facilities to see if there are separate areas for each team and if the facilities are clean and professional. Young players love the chance to be in a professional-grade locker room and have an experience they likely can’t get in their local stadiums. Future Legends aims for each participant to play in our multi-purpose professional stadium, for an experience like no other.
Aside from the game and practice fields, look for other amenities that could create a great experience for players. Great amenities can put your tournament over the top and make it the talk of the youth lacrosse tournament circuit. Some venues offer tournament participants access to cardio and weight-lifting areas for conditioning, as well as physical therapists and sports trainers. Check the emergency plan for players if they get injured to ensure there is on-site care that can help with minor injuries.
Provide On-Site Housing Options
The tournament facilities themselves are only part of the venue equation—teams also need a place to stay when they aren’t training or playing. Look for a venue that has housing available nearby, such as a hotel that offers a group discount rate for tournament teams. You don’t want teams having to drive back and forth across town between the venue and their hotel, which can cause them to get stuck in traffic and waste valuable time that could be spent at the tournament or bonding as a team. Some venues offer shuttle services between the fields and nearby hotels.
The ideal situation is on-site housing and hospitality, which puts the players right next to the tournament action. On-site housing makes it easier for teams to arrange where they are going to stay and cuts down on wasted travel time. It also adds to the tournament experience by creating an immersive experience for players and coaches to eat, sleep, and breathe lacrosse. Future Legends is a leader in on-site lodging and has a state-of-the-art, 64 team dorm for players and coaches. Besides just a comfortable bed close to the action, on-site dorms also have other perks like experiences, ancillary events, programming, and entertainment. Apart from team lodging, Future Legends also has two nationally flagged hotels for spectators to stay in.
No matter if housing is on-site or nearby, ensure that players and coaches will be safe throughout the tournament. Hotels should have proper safety measures in place like locking windows and individual room keycards, and on-site accommodations should only allow players and coaches in certain areas. Future Legends has state-of-the-art security to ensure that only people with proper access are in the right areas, so that everyone involved with the tournament stays safe.
Find Amenities for a Great Spectator Experience
Besides the players and coaches, family and friends who come to watch the tournament also want to have a great experience. In many cases, these people are used to spending all day out in the sun watching their players play, so amenities to improve their time at the tournament can make for a far greater experience. When parents and spectators are happy, they are much more likely to encourage the coach to attend the tournament in the future, which increases the chance of your youth lacrosse tournament becoming a regular occurrence.
For a great spectator experience, start with the basics. Look for a venue that offers comfortable seating. Some may offer chairs or bleachers with backs that are largely in the shade. Make sure there is enough seating for all the potential spectators who will want to attend. Some venues allow spectators to bring in their own chairs and seatbacks, while others have stricter rules and provide great in-house seating. Also consider parking at the venue. Larger tournaments can bring in big crowds, so make sure there is enough parking for family and friends. If the parking lot is huge and some people have to park a long way from the facilities, you may want to check to see if there is a shuttle included for the tournament. Also make sure that there are plenty of bathrooms for guests throughout the venue and that they are cleaned regularly. Little things like a parking shuttle and nearby bathrooms can go a long way in creating happy spectators.
Tournaments include multiple games, which means most spectators will spend a lot of time at the venue. They will also likely have downtime between games and will need something to do. Check that there is Wi-Fi at the venue and that it provides a good connection for guests. Also check if there is a fee associated with using the internet. If there is, consider paying for that yourself instead of requiring each spectator to pay individually. Put yourself in a spectator’s shoes to consider what they would want in a venue for a great experience. Future Legends has thought through the best possible experience for spectators, and offers Wi-Fi across the complex, as well as different restaurants, retail opportunities and other activities for visitors to enjoy.
Look for dining, retail, and entertainment near the venue. Spectators will likely want to do something aside from just watching lacrosse games for days on end. At the very least, make sure the venue offers a variety of concessions at convenient locations. Future Legends is more than just a sports complex—it also features a variety of dining and retail options to keep spectators well-fed and entertained between games. Guests don’t even have to leave the facilities to get great food and enjoy great shopping. Convenience goes a long way in creating happy spectators.
The venue sets the tone for the entire youth lacrosse tournament. Finding the right venue for your needs can start your tournament planning on the right foot and create a tournament that players and coaches are excited to attend. Consider these six tips when looking at youth lacrosse tournament venues to find the perfect place for your next tournament.