Sports Events Bring Visitor Spending

By Sherri Crawford, posted Dec 18, 2015
The annual Beach Soccer Classic brought an estimated 2,100 youth soccer players, plus their family members and  coaches, to the Wilmington area – along with nearly $900,000 in projected direct visitor spending in New Hanover County.

According to Wilmington Hammerheads Youth Tournament director Dani Pittman, of the 132 teams that participated in last month’s (Nov. 21-22) event, 115 of them were from out of town. Tournament teams consisted of an average of 14 players -- ranging in age from 10 to18 -- who were accompanied by an average of three or four family members, 120 coaches and 75 referees.

Over the two-day tourney, Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) officials said that the majority of those soccer players and accompanying entourage stayed in local hotels, dined in area restaurants, and more.

“Based on participant numbers provided by event organizers, we [estimated] that the Beach Soccer Classic [would] generate more than $816,795 in direct visitor spending in New Hanover County,” said president/CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority Kim Hufham, in a release. “Using a conservative 2.5 multiplier, the total economic impact of this tournament [would] be approximately $2.04 million.”

Pittman added that participating teams in this year’s Beach Soccer Classic were from across three states. Taking place at multiple soccer fields, including Cape Fear Regional Soccer Park, Eaton Fields, Ogden Park, Veteran’s Park fields, and Hugh MacRae Athletic Complex, the event also showcased the county’s array of athletic services offerings.

“[The Beach Soccer Classic allowed] teams from around North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to experience competitive soccer and enjoy the best of Wilmington during its off season,” explained Pittman. “We’d like to thank New Hanover County Parks and Rec. ... [for] use of their facilities. We would also like to thank the CVB, as well as the hotels in our area, for accommodating the parents and players who continue to come back each year, thanks to our beautiful area and supportive community.”

Additionally, the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC organizes a larger, annual spring tournament, which brings even more visitors to the area. In May, the Seaside Soccer Classic tournament hosted 303 teams with more than 4,740 players, coaches and referees coming to the region.

Meanwhile, the annual PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon, held earlier in the fall, brought athletes from 44 states and seven countries to New Hanover County. Officials with the event producer, Set Up Events, said that approximately 95 percent of participants traveled from outside of the local area and stayed an average of three nights in local lodging.
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