BMX World Championships to boost Rock Hill economy -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

BMX World Championships to boost Rock Hill economy

(Kristi O'Connor | WBTV) (Kristi O'Connor | WBTV)

More than 3,300 BMX riders from around the world will flock to Rock Hill at the end of July for the UCI BMX World Championships. It is the first time in 16 years the World Championships are being hosted in the U.S. 

Rock Hill City officials are expecting the four-day competition to be an economic driver for the community.

They estimate the 25,000 spectators visiting Rock Hill will generate at least $13 million. They say because sports tourism has proved to be so successful in the city, they hope to expand on it with the money generated from the World Championship.

It was just five years ago when the city built the Velodrome cycling track in the Riverwalk community. Then, in 2014, came the Novant Health BMX track.

“We have a lot of people moving here to train on this facility,” Park, Recreation and Tourism Operations Supervisor Mark Sexton said.

On July 25, the city will welcome visitors from all over the world for the UCI BMX World Championships. It is the largest international event Rock Hill will host and is thought to be the largest international event in South Carolina sporting history.

They expect at least 3,300 riders to compete.

"Because it has not been in the United State in 16 years, we really think that could rise up to 3,500 or 3,700,” Sexton said.

Rock Hill has hosted international events at its cycling tracks before. The last two years they have hosted the World Cup. However, Sexton explained, the World Championship is a much larger event because it includes amateur riders and professional riders of all ages - whereas the World Cup only includes professional riders.

"They're going to be spending money in the hotel, eating at restaurants, buying the gifts and entertainment,” Sexton said.

The 25,000 visitors is exciting to nearby businesses like Grapevine Wine Shop and Wine Bar. Manager Kim Jones says they have already been busy the year and a half they have been in business because of the location near the river. They welcome a diverse group of customers.

They hope to expand their customer base even further with international visitors in town next month.

"We're air conditioned, they don't have air conditioning down there (at the track) , so they are going to be looking for a cold beer, or a chardonnay to cool off with," Jones said.

Sexton says with the hospitality tax they hope to build on to sports tourism in Rock Hill. He says they will use some of the revenue toward a $24 million indoor, multi-purpose arena to be built in downtown Rock Hill. 

He says it could host at least 70 different sports. They hope to open that in 2018.

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