Cornhole tourney brings boost to Myrtle Beach sports tourism in off-season

Cornhole tourney brings boost to Myrtle Beach sport tourism in off-season

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Back and bigger than before, Myrtle Beach is welcoming hundreds of visitors for a unique sporting spectacle.

The 2019 American Cornhole League (ACL) National Championships kicked off Friday in the Grand Strand. The contests are broadcast nationally on ESPN.

“The competition looks pretty stout this year," said Branson Oliver, one half of the defending national championship duo from Jacksonville State University.

A total of $50,000 in scholarships is up for grabs during the event, now held at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center.

“It’s pretty good for us guys who love to play," said seven-year ACL veteran Timmy Pitcher. “To get the exposure and the opportunity to be seen on ESPN, can’t be upset with that.”

“Bringing some of these sports tourism events in like the cornhole tournament in the shoulder season really helps our restaurants and our hotels,” said Jonathan Paris, executive director of sports tourism for the city of Myrtle Beach.

The cornhole tournament, paired with the nearby Beach Ball Classic and a handful of other events, has given a boost to the generally slower season for tourism along the Grand Strand.

“Coming here and participating in a sporting event as a family, as a team, seeing what the destination is all about is ultimately how we look at sports tourism,” Paris said.

Promoting tourism and raising awareness around the sport of cornhole, the players said this weekend’s tourney is a hole in one.

“And everywhere we go they’re like, ‘Hey we started playing because we saw y’all on ESPN.' So that’s pretty cool," Oliver said.

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