NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – North Myrtle Beach is cashing in on the sports tourism industry but not just with typical sports like baseball or soccer. While those sports do bring in money, the city's new park and sports complex is home to some alternative sports.
"Overall sports tourism generated over $31 million for North Myrtle Beach last year," said NMB Superintendent of Sports Tourism Matt Gibbons. "An impressive number that has grown every single year."
Gibbons said a big focus has been on generated new interest and excitement about what is being played on the new sports fields.
"We are constantly booked with baseball and softball, but they've been around so long people are used to them. So when something new and creative comes along, it generates some excitement," added Gibbons.
One event the city brought in you may have read about in the Harry Potter books. The Quidditch World Cup came to town last spring with 1,600 fans and players.
Then, the city moved forward and opened the GoApe tree top adventure park. It has 35 obstacles, zip lines, and more.
This year, the city added something very new and unlike anything else in South Carolina.
It is called bubble soccer which is a mix of football and soccer that has players dressed in bubbles for protection when they knock over an opponent.
League organizer Jessica Mora said when she brought her idea to the city, it did not think twice about trying it out.
"We had a meeting with them before the bubbles even came and they were completely on board completely supportive so it's been a great partnership with them," added Mora.
Gibbons and the city are now looking ahead to an ultimate Frisbee tournament in a few months.?