NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The United States Basketball Associations (USBA) National Championship is being held in North Myrtle Beach this year. Opening ceremonies began on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. at the Alabama Theater.
The USBA is a national tournament which has been held in North Myrtle Beach for five years now. On Tuesday through Saturday, an estimated 2,000 players and their coaches are expected to be in the area, and that's not including their families. There are so many teams competing, that organizers have to spread out all the games, from as far north as North Carolina and down into the South Strand.
Local officials say that works out to be $5 million into our local economy. This is through the different hotels, restaurants, and attractions that are going to get added business. It also brings more attention to the Grand Strand, since people come from all over South and North Carolina, Georgia, and other states along the coast.
The city has two more years under contract with USBA; leaders say they want to keep the tournament growing year after year.
"It's a great opportunity, even though we're in the middle of the summer," said Matt Gibbons, the North Myrtle Beach Superintendent of Sports Tourism. "It's always nice to bring people here; a lot of these people have never been to NMB before. It's just a great experience for them to come here and see our facilities, see what we have to offer, and then hopefully they'll come back and vacation with us in the future."
The North Myrtle Beach chamber put together more than 8,000 goodie bags full of coupons, discounts, and activities to encourage the visitors to spend money locally. This event has been so successful that it's being used as an example for what the city is trying to do with other sports events in the area.