Sports tourism growing in Myrtle Beach -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Sports tourism growing in Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Sports tourism is hitting home runs in Myrtle Beach.  The Myrtle Beach Sports Center has only been open for about four months but the city says it already has a high success rate.

The Myrtle Beach Sports Center is filling its role when it comes to boosting sports tourism for the city, and Marketing Director Mark Beale said, the next few months, are really going to continue that momentum.

“We’ve run about 15,000 athletes and coaches in that short amount of time,” Beale said. The bulk of the business is coming in this summer when we have four and five day events.”

Basketball, specifically is a slam dunk for the summer with the Big Shots and the NTBA Nationals coming in. But, since day one, volleyball is showing to be a big sell, especially if you look at food and beverage numbers, according to Beale.

He said all events are boosting momentum; for example, cheer and dance events have exceeded their expectations.

Plus, the center is getting good positive reaction from their guests they survey, many of those, who mark down, they are first time visitors. Even on social media, Beale said the numbers are climbing.

Right now, with long term contracts in place and new ones to come, Beale is predicting a positive progression at the center. He plans to add more dance, cheer, archery, and gymnastics events, to name a few.

The impact is being seen beyond the sports center doors.  In order to get visitors to local businesses, the sports center gives athletes access to “Deals and Steals,” which local business owners say, is paying off.

Open Gym 

While the main focus for the facility is tourism, which brings in a big economic impact for all of us, they're also opening up the doors for locals with open gym times.

Beale says they're trying use time when the building is not booked, in the summer, for people that want to come in and use the courts.

He said, typically 6 courts will be open at a time, with each court dedicated to certain age groups. It will cost you five bucks to play.

This open gym time will be available for public basketball through August.

There's much more in the works for sports tourism, another addition is headed to the city.

Arena Football to Myrtle Beach

A press conference is being held, Monday, at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, to announce it as the brand new home for the arena football team - the Myrtle Beach Freedom. It's a professional arena football organization, which is indoor football.

The team's owner Ronnie McCuin says he has been working for years to bring a team to the area.

This team will be the X-league's second expansion team, this off season. They won’t start playing games until March 2016, but they hope to get the ball rolling with this announcement.

At the press conference, we'll find out more about their open house in September and tryouts, next year.

Beale thinks this football team may help boost summer tourism,  just like the Pelican's baseball team does.

“If you look at the Pelicans, they’re a local team but they’re biggest bulk of business comes from tourists coming over, to that facility,” Beale said. “I think that's what they’re hoping for over there, not only to get the locals to see them, but maybe if they’re playing during the summer, that the summertime visitors can go take in the game while they’re here in the area.”

This team will host six games between next March and June and tickets will go on sale in September.

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