Jul 25, 2019

Youth sports tourism a home run when it comes to economic impact


Author: Becky Gillette at Mississippi Business Journal

Date: July 11, 2019

Some parents encourage their kids to get involved with sports as a way to keep them from spending too much time with their phones and electronic devices, or from getting into trouble. Sports are also helpful to help build self-esteem and combat childhood obesity. But the bottom line is that many kids love to play sports and it is a great way for families to spend time together.

Youth sports also have a major financial impact. TD Ameritrade found that about 63 percent of American families whose kids are involved in sports spend from $100 to $499 per child per month on the sporting activities. Another 18 percent pay $500 to $999 per month and about 11 percent spend $1,000 to $1,999. And 8 percent report spending $2,000 per month or more amounting to $24,000 per year.

One city that has invested big in youth sports tourism is Vicksburg. In February, the Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi in Vicksburg opened providing professional-level synthetic turf fields, on-site recreation and entertainment options, and high-quality concessions, said Laura Beth Strickland, Deputy Director, Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). Activities at the Sports Force Parks bring in a lot of visitors.

“We host tournaments including youth travel baseball, softball, soccer, football, and more throughout the year,” Strickland said. “The majority of the activities at the Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi are for youth tournaments. Having a state-of-the-art facility for sports has increased our family travel significantly. You can see all of these families by looking around at restaurants and hotels around town on the weekend.”

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