MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Sports Tourism is a huge driver for Grand Strand economies, and the City of Myrtle Beach recently got a closer look at exactly how much money it brings in.
The numbers from 2015 are out, and the economic effects were huge. In 2015, the city said sports tourism brought in nearly $168 million to the community in direct economic impact. That's $12 million more than in 2014, and $42 million more than 2013.
The opening of the indoor sports complex played a huge role, as events there brought in more than $22 million.
July was far and away the biggest month for sports tourism, with a chunk coming from the single biggest earner of the year- Showstopper, a national dance competition held at the convention center. The competition brought in almost $16.5 million, and is annually hosted by the local dance company.
Dance and cheer competitions typically earn the most, but baseball came from behind to take the crown in 2015, contributing more than $51 million, compared to the nearly $49 million brought in by cheer and dance competitions.
The city doesn't want the dollar amount to level off.
"We're only limited by the facilities," explained Mark Kruea, City of Myrtle Beach spokesperson. "And we've got great facilities, but we're beginning to look at how we can do a Phase 5 expansion for example at Grand Park and add a couple more fields, and maybe expand some soccer opportunities out there. So we are thinking about that- Doug Shaw Stadium is one of the priorities that we are looking at."
While cheer and dance competitions, and baseball tournaments account for a majority of Myrtle Beach's sports tourism revenue, the city is hoping to attract more soccer, fast pitch softball and specialty sports like archery.