Myrtle Beach Bowl projected to bring $1 million in sports tourism to Grand Strand

Myrtle Beach Bowl projected to bring $1 million in sports tourism to Grand Strand

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Coastal Carolina’s Brooks Stadium has had an exciting football season.

It has seen an undefeated season so far with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, and the teal field is preparing for the first bowl game ever to be played in South Carolina.

Visit Myrtle Beach is hoping that the bowl game will bring quite a bit of revenue to the area, despite the pandemic.

“Although this year is not going to be the year that we hoped to kick it off in, it certainly is great to have teams and know that in a week we’ll have our first bowl game and the first bowl game in the state of South Carolina,” said Visit Myrtle Beach Executive Director of Sports Tourism Jonathan Paris.

Paris has spent the past two years helping to coordinate the first-ever Myrtle Beach Bowl.

The NCAA had a ban on bowl games in South Carolina because of the Confederate flag waving over the state capital. That ban was lifted in 2015, and the Myrtle Beach Bowl is the first bowl game the Palmetto State has had the chance to tackle.

Of course, the pandemic caused a few issues when Visit Myrtle Beach tried to project the sports tourism impact of the game.

“The teams are in town less, they’re not traveling with bands,” said Paris. “The capacity is limited at Brooks Stadium as well, in terms of how many fans they can attract, but our calculations show it’s still going to be about a million dollars of economic impact to the community.”

Paris is hoping that million dollars will help to make-up for the cancellation of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

The Myrtle Beach Invitational brings together eight NCAA Division One basketball teams every November, but won’t be held again until next November because of coronavirus concerns.

Another event that may make up for the missed invitational, is the Sun Belt Conference Championship game this weekend at Brooks Stadium, where the Chants will be taking on the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.

“Bringing in an extra game that’s based on their record and winning the division, but we’ll definitely have a bit of tourism hit for the community as well, and it rolls right into the bowl game,” said Paris.

App State and North Texas will face off in the bowl, and Myrtle Beach Bowl Executive Director Rachel Quigley said the match-up may be a touchdown for filling the stands.

“We’ve fielded a ton of calls for tickets locally, and from App fans and North Texas fans,” said Quigley. “I think we’re going to have a full stadium. As full as we’re allowed to have it, so it’s great news.”

Visit Myrtle Beach has already secured a multi-year contract with ESPN for the Myrtle Beach Bowl, so the game should be an annual occurrence for the foreseeable future.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.