Myrtle Beach sports tourism takes financial hit amidst COVID-19

Coronavirus impact to Myrtle Beach sports tourism industry

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s been nearly a month since the sports world came to a screeching halt amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

With professional, collegiate and high school sports leagues at a standstill, the Myrtle Beach sports tourism industry is taking a major hit financially.

Tim Huber, Myrtle Beach sports tourism supervisor, said March is typically one of the city’s busiest months hosting college and high school track meets, spring baseball tournaments and training.

“The spring break period of March and April, outside of the core of summer, this is our busiest time so it’s a huge impact,” said Huber.

In 2019, Huber said they saw a $40 million economic impact in spending just for the month of March.

After having to cancel nearly every event this spring due to COVID-19, Huber’s team estimates a loss of nearly $30 million in economic spending for March.

“We captured about 25% of what we planned to have done thus far so that deficits probably is going to continue to grow here in the coming weeks,” said Huber.

The city was still able to host the Myrtle Beach Marathon before the coronavirus became a national pandemic, but had to cancel track meets like the Shamrock and Beach Run Invitational.

On Thursday, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans were supposed to open the 2020 season at home, which has been postponed.

The team continues to find creative ways on social media to stay connected with their fans.

Some events, like the 26th annual Monday After the Masters, has been canceled.

Fans who already purchased tickets will be able to get a refund.

As the world of sports tourism is experiencing changes on a daily basis, Huber remains confident that when the time comes sports groups will be on the leading edge of the recovery.

“We are still in a good position day after day, so when we are given the okay to start coming out of this we’re going to quickly be able to do that,” said Huber.

Last weekend, President Donald Trump spoke with the commissioners of all the major sports leagues.

Trump said he is hopeful fans should be able to return to arenas and sporting events by August or September of 2020.

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