The National Lacrosse League is about to become the number one sport – at the original home of "Top Gun," as seen in the blockbuster Tom Cruise movie.
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On Feb. 22, 2020, the NLL's San Diego Seals will square off against the Vancouver Warriors at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The match will be played on the famous base runway with the Seals building a temporary stadium on the base's flight line. Seals spokesperson Josh Gross said the stadium would cost the team $250,000 to construct.
Fans attending the match will see familiar surroundings as Miramar was the setting for the smash 1986 movie, "Top Gun." A sequel is slated later the summer. However, the actual "Top Gun" school that trains ace fighter pilots was moved by the U.S. Navy from Miramar to Naval Air Station Fallon in western Nevada in 1996.
The Seals, which are based in nearby San Diego, state that this is the first time a professional sporting event has ever been held on an active U.S. Marine base. In 2011, college basketball held the Carrier Classic – sponsored by Quicken Loans – on several aircraft carriers, but discontinued the games after 2012 due to weather-related issues.
Seating will be for 4,000 to 4,500. That should make it a hot ticket on the base as Miramar is home to more than 12,200 Marines, sailors and civilians. Only Seals' season ticket holders and authorized military patrons will have access to tickets. Ticket prices will range from $40 for authorized military to suites and premium seating at $120/$156 per ticket.
Clearly security will be strict so civilian season ticket holder "will be allowed entry through one specific gate on to MCAS Miramar," according to Gross.
The 13 franchise NLL is coming off a season which saw a 28 percent increase, falling just short of 1 million for its 18 game season.
To highlight that interest in the league – the NLL says 60 percent of ticket sales came from people who never picked up a lacrosse stick – it is undertaking special events like Miramar. The Seals are also hosting the Colorado Mammoth on February 1 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, which will be the first-ever pro lacrosse match in "Sin City." According to league spokesman Joe Favorito, Seals owner Joe Tsai will be "picking up the hotel costs for season ticketholders" who attend the Vegas match.
Tsai, the co-founder and executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group, is certainly putting his heart and his wallet into the NLL. While his sports holdings include the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA and the New York Liberty of the WNBA, he has had a long relationship with lacrosse having played collegiately at Yale University.