BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) – Think of this weekend as just a small taste of things to come. Only about 15 teams are playing ball this weekend in Orange Beach as the United States Specialty Sports Association Global Sports World Series kicks off.
This is the second year coming down for pitcher Ty Ashworth and his team. His father, Chris, said there’s just something here you can’t find elsewhere.
“There’s other world series, but this one for us, being able to have the beach, the restaurants, the tourism, things for the kids to do 24/7. We’ve run out of time to do everything we wanted to do, there’s just so much,” Ashworth said.
This is the first year for the Austin Boom. So far, they’ve stormed through their games, landing at 4-0. Coach Mike Michaux said the beach was a big draw for them.
“We looked at Cooperstown and we looked at some other tournaments, but we just decided to come to the beach and make it more of kind of a fun vacation/baseball week that everyone could just have a good time,” Michaux said.
It’s attitudes like that, which allowed the month-long event to bring in $26.3 million in revenue last year.
All the games this weekend are being played in Orange Beach, but come Tuesday the games will be split among Orange Beach, Gulf Shores and Foley.
Tourism officials said this year will bring in a similar amount, which will be spread around the three south Baldwin towns.
“That money goes to all the area businesses because they really travel like a leisure traveler,” Beth Gendler, vice president of sales for Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission, said. “So many of the people wouldn’t have planned to come here. But then when they do come here for baseball, they’re making a week’s vacation of it as well.”
And housing all those people helps as well.
“From our standpoint, an additional 2000 more stay nights really equates to probably over $2 million to us. It’s just wonderful and that can be multiplied across beach. It’s a wonderful ingest to the economy of the area,” Chris Holzworth, director of marketing for Brett/Robinson, said.
And it’s certainly something the players, coaches and parents said they look forward to coming back to next year.
The first tournament will wrap up with its championship match this weekend. The Coach Pitch World Series kicks off on Tuesday and will host about 200 teams.