CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - As Coastal Carolina University's name is thrown into conversations across the country after being crowned Big South champions, Myrtle Beach is also enjoying the extra attention.
"More people attending, more tickets sold, more hotel rooms filled," said Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. "It added up to a great week for the Grand Strand thanks to the Big South Conference Championships."
Visitmyrtlebeach.com has seen a double-digit increase in website traffic this year and even more clicks within this past week during the tournament, Dean said.
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce had the URL posted on everything from the stands and hoops to tickets and programs.
There were also pictures of the beach and people enjoying the area's offerings displayed throughout the games and program. The chamber is trying to not only keep tournament visitors coming back for basketball, but also for vacations over the summer, Dean said.
This is the third year the Big South Championship has been held at Coastal Carolina University. The chamber and the college are hoping to get the event to stay here permanently by making the stay for players, coaches and visitors enjoyable.
The possibility of becoming a permanent location will be discussed at a meeting usually held around Memorial Day, CCU Athletic Director Matt Hogue said. The presidents of the universities and the conference commissioners make that decision.
The school has been feeling the positive effects of its successful sports teams and the subsequent national attention.
"It's the portal by which people find out about the university then once they find out about you, they learn about all the other great things you have going on," Hogue said.
He said the wins on the court could mean more applications. It's difficult to track exactly why students apply to certain colleges, but school spirit is something they look for, he said.
"That means a lot to a student when they're selecting a university to attend. We know we're part of the puzzle," Hogue said.
Hogue said the goal now is to keep the national spotlight throughout the NCAA tournament this month.
"I think this year folks will know who we are. They'll probably know how to pronounce Chanticleer correctly," he said. "So now it's about taking that next step, actually winning in the tournament. That's our goal."