Columbia Country recreation officials last week touted the positive affect their events have had in the past year, and prepped area businesses for a bigger draw next year.
The county will play host to the 2010 Dixie Ponytails World Series. Recreation Manager Charlie Beale told local hotel and restaurant employees he expects the event to bring $700,000 to the county.
"We feel like we're going to fill up everything on Belair Road and I-20 for this tournament," Beale said at a Columbia County Hospitality Council meeting held Wednesday. "We're real proud of that."
The estimated affect is larger than any event the county has played host to in a year.
A pair of state youth baseball tournaments the county played host to during the summer brought in about $270,000 combined, Beale said. The largest economic affect, at almost $500,000, came from an FLW regional bass tournament held at Clarks Hill Lake.
Beale said recreation department events from the past year have brought the county more than $2 million and that he's hoping to get more in the next year.
Eleven teams from 11 Southeastern states will play at Patriots Park for the Dixie Ponytails World Series. The county is responsible for boarding the teams and feeding the players lunch and dinner each day.
Sponsorship packages will be available for businesses who want to provide free meals or rooms for the teams in exchange for advertising in game programs and on the fields.
The benefit for hotels and restaurants is that where the players go, families follow -- especially with 11- and 12-year-old girls, Beale said.
"Mama, daddy, grandmama, aunt, uncle -- everybody travels with that age group," he said. "Because they all want to see it."
The county has played host to four youth world series events in the past, starting in 1984. The latest was a girls 13-15 age group, which Beale said cost the county $32,000 to hold.
But the outcome was much more.
"They're a lot of fun," Columbia County athletic supervisor Ken Warner said. "A lot of planning, but a lot of fun when it gets here."
Economic impact of recent recreation department events:
- FLW regional bass tournament -- $496,000
- BFL regional bass tournament -- $388,000
- Peach Belt Conference men's and women's soccer tournament -- $302,000
- Dixie Youth state baseball tournament -- $155,000
- Disc golf tournament-- $135,000
- Georgia Recreation and Parks Association youth baseball tournament -- $117,000
Source: Columbia County Recreation Department
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