MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It’s less than a week before Christmas and sports fans in Horry County are getting one of the best gifts of all.
The CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational brings some of the best high school girls basketball in the country to Myrtle Beach. This year, 32 teams are competing, up from 16 in 2017.
“We’re going to expand again next year,” said former Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, who serves as the tournament’s executive director. “Next year, I’m looking to be at 48. My ultimate goal is between 80 and 100 teams.”
That’s not to mention the Carolinas Challenge, a tournament featuring eight college teams like Coastal Carolina University, Auburn and UNC Chapel Hill.
Fans from Tallahassee, Fla., are impressed with Myrtle Beach.
“For this place to be as big as it is, I like the scenery, like the aquarium we just went to earlier today. It was a great experience and coming to games like this is great,” said one fan. “It’s nice to be outside of Tallahassee, Fla., so I like the experience.”
Rhodes said the goal is to have 100 teams here in 2019, which would bring huge dollars to the beach.
“I would say we’re probably going to be pushing up close to $1 million," Rhodes said.
That amount is significant since the city lost more than $29 million in sports tourism from 2016 to 2017.
“We’re making it so attractive that this is the place they’re going to want to come,” Rhodes said.