MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce is working to present a bid to organizers of the Ford Ironman Triathlon that would bring the event to Myrtle Beach.
The official bid is due to Ford Ironman organizers by the end of the week, and Myrtle Beach is competing with bids from Asheville, Charlotte, Charleston and Atlanta. If selected, the triathlon, which would be held toward the end of September, could be the biggest sports-tourism event put on in the area.
"We've obviously shown the things that we're able to do in terms of the marathon, the half-marathon, and a lot of the other events that we have here," said Myrtle Beach City Councilman Wayne Gray. "This community is really embracing sports tourism, and the benefit that it offers to our community as a tourist destination. "
Organizers calculate that the event could bring in up to $16 million to the area, spread out across local businesses, attractions and hotels. Plus, the race would come at the end of September, right at a time when businesses need one last boost before the off-season.
It would be a guaranteed yearly bonus, since promoters with Ironman want to have a five-year contract with whatever city they choose. Those who want to bring it here say with these kind of benefits, Myrtle Beach should do what it can to host the race.
"We can deliver a spectacular and compelling race for them," said Pete Politas, who is working on the bid. "With a community that will be involved, and we'd love to have them here to race it. With this race, they're looking for a marriage with the city."
After the bid is submitted, then promoters will pick the top three cities to visit and see if it will actually be a good fit. The winning city will be announced by July.