Lawrence tops the country in sports jobs LQ — location quotient

As Lawrence and the Kansas University community brace for another March Madness run, it’s clear sports — especially college basketball — play a prominent role here.

And if you want to make a career in sports, you’re in the right spot.

Lawrence leads the country with a 3.1 location quotient, or LQ, for sports occupations, according to a study by the Martin Prosperity Institute. The average quotient for the 302 cities studied is 1.

Simply put, there are more people employed as athletes, coaches or scouts in our mid-size city than anywhere else in the country, and three times the average.

The study used data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, and included anyone employed as “Athletes and Sports Competitors,” “Coaches and Scouts” and “Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials.”

Lawrence was also joined at the top of the list by other small to mid-size college towns such as South Bend, Ind.; Auburn, Ala.; and Boulder, Colo.

One other Big 12 city fared well in the rankings; Ames, Iowa, ranked 16th. Manhattan ranked 66, still well above the national average.

In an article for The Atlantic, Richard Florida, director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, delved into why such towns — which lack professional teams — lead the country in sports occupations.

“For one, college teams have a lock on their markets,” wrote Florida in Monday’s Atlantic online story. “In many small and mid-size communities, college sports are often the only game in town.”

And the popular sports, such as college football and basketball, “help support a bunch of much smaller ones.”

“Colleges and college towns offer a wide range of athletic programs from lacrosse to fencing and everything in between, which employ lots of other people,” Florida wrote.