Big tournaments bring big tourism to central Illinois
(25 News Now) - Over just a two-week span, three major sports tournaments are happening in Greater Peoria, and with that comes a massive boost to the local economy.
Whether it is the JP Sports World Series Baseball Tournament, the USSSA Great Lakes National Softball Championship or the PDGA Disc Golf Championships, hundreds of athletes are coming to central Illinois.
“It’s incredible for our economy. Not just bringing teams, but with every team comes attendees,” said JD Dalfonso of the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Parents, siblings, and teammates themselves are all descending upon central Illinois. It’s exciting.”
Peoria’s Louisville Slugger Sports Complex is hosting both bat-and-ball tournaments, while the disc golf tournament is taking place on 13 different courses throughout the area.
“We have 1100 competitors - 15 countries represented and almost every state here. A lot of players from all over the world,” tournament director Nate Heinold said.
City leaders say this is the norm for summers in the River City, and even through the rough years of COVID-19, Peoria was still able to accommodate.
“Sports tourism throughout the summers of June 2020 and 2021 were high above projections forecasted for hotel recovery, particularly,” Dalfonso said.
At Discover Peoria, they are charting another home run summer, and tens of thousands of dollars are pumping into local businesses.
“They’re buying gas, they’re buying food, they’re staying overnight at our hotels. They are entertaining other assets that are not just at the sports facility,” Dalfonso said.
Organizers say the opportunities in central Illinois appear endless.
“We’re known for hosting large events ... This is a natural event to host here because of all the great courses we have,” Heinold said.
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