MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's game time again here in the Grand Strand. The Ballin' at the Beach tournament will host its 2nd annual tournament from Friday, April 22 through Sunday, April 24 at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center.
Eighty of the 90 teams with athletes from 3rd grade to high school seniors are coming from all over the country to compete for the championship title.
Eight courts will be packed for the event, so organizers say every seat is a good one. Last year thousands of people came out to watch, and now the organizers behind Ballin' at the Beach expect this year to be even bigger, since they now have some experience under their belts.
Event staff say this year is already starting off to be the most successful for the tournament, but they remind people that's not the most important aspect.
"A lot of people from out of state or far enough away that they have to stay in a hotel Friday and Saturday night so that's great for the economy and the economic impact here in Myrtle Beach," said Myrtle Beach Sports Center Director of Events and Operations Jessica Vanco.
However, officials with the City of Myrtle Beach have made it clear, Myrtle Beach will be the sports tourism destination. Once the competitors and their families visit for the competition, organizers hope they will return.
"It was a no-brainer to have a 100,000 square foot facility here to being more travelers from all over the country and world here to Myrtle Beach," said Myrtle Beach Sports Center Director of Events and Operations Jessica Vanco.
Sports tourism brought in big bucks last year, and while city leaders say the money is generated here, it also stays here and everyone gets a piece of the pie. Retailers and restaurants get the direct benefit from the crowds, but everyone in the Grand Strand sees the results of a big turnout.
Sports tourism doesn't carry the same weight as the summer's beach crowd, but whether it's basketball or any other sport, it brings guaranteed crowds to the beach and gives businesses a chance to thrive.
Although teams are getting ready to compete for the championship title, the City of Myrtle Beach wins the cash prize. The City will benefit from thousands of basketball players and their families who come with them.
The first game will tip off Friday night at 6:45 p.m., and will continue through Sunday. There is a daily rate for each day that changes.