Baseball tournaments money in the bank

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Hosting baseball tournaments in Troy means more than just showing off the SportsPlex, it's money in the bank for many in town.

"You're talking about a huge impact on the economy in terms of the revenue a tournament generates for the city," said City Clerk Alton Starling.

The city plays host to four tournaments this summer, the first of which is began last Friday. The championship game of the Dixie Minors sub-district tournament is slated for Friday, although rain has delayed play.

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Three other tournaments, the Dixie Angels 9-10 softball state tournament, the Dixie Belles 13-15 softball state tournament and the Alabama Recreation and Parks fast-pitch state softball tournament.

"There's a lot of obvious things on the economic impact when it comes to a team and a group of people coming to a tournament," said Dan Smith, director of Troy's parks and recreation department.

"As a parent, I go to other communities to watch my son play ball, as do all of the families, and almost every day you go, you're going to buy gas, food and, a lot of the times, lodging."

All that economic activity can mean a boost to local pocketbooks and tax coffers, said Starling, who conservatively estimates that the revenues generated for Troy businesses from the four tournaments could be near the half-million dollar mark.

"With those tournaments you could expect at least $450,000 would be injected into the local economy and in terms of tax revenues you could be looking at $20,000 – $30,000 coming in and those are conservative estimates," he said.

Starling bases that estimate on an average per diem rate of $110 per day

per person.

"Those tournaments provide a secondary impact in the fact that there are local people who work during these tournaments and it's a great source of secondary income for them, " Smith said.

There are also the expenditures tournament-goers make at local sporting goods stores on last-minute accessories.

"We've always considered our department to be an extension of the Chamber of Commerce," Smith said. "We feel we have some of the best facilities in the state and the professional staff to manage and administer a tournament. We'd love to have a major tournament every weekend."

Smith said his department "aggressively" recruits tournaments because "we know it will be very beneficial to the community - not just the hotels and restaurants but the entire economic base," he said.

Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation, said Smith's attitude was on target.

"Those tournaments do have a tremendous impact on the economy of the community," she said.

"It really does make a difference."

Smith said there was direct impact on the parks and recreation department as well. He estimates that in gate sales alone at the current tournament, his department has taken in between $3,000 and $5,000.

That doesn't include concession sales and other items available at the SportsPlex.

He expects an even larger crowd for the Dixie Angels and Dixie Belles tournaments that will be both played July 18-24.

There are 18 teams slated to play in Troy, and Smith estimates at least 1,000 people will be in attendance.

"We already know that every hotel room in Troy is already booked for that weekend, and has been for some time now."