Baseball and softball tournaments at the Morgan Complex contributed more than $300,000 to the local economy in 2012, according to study by a business magazine.
Last year, there were six baseball tournaments held by Top Gun Sports as well as girls’ softball tournaments held by the Carolina Softball Association. A few adult softball tournaments were held as well.
According to Cabarrus Business Magazine, which conducted a study on the economic impact of those games, Scotland benefited greatly from the tournaments.
Cory Hughes, executive director of the Scotland County Tourism Development Authority, agreed with the findings.
“Whether at local restaurants, stores, or gas stations, the point is tournament attendees spend their dollars here,” Hughes said. “That generates more dollars in the economy and more sales taxes to our local government. And the study didn’t even take into consideration teams that stayed overnight in local hotels.”
Hughes also noted that this economic impact study only took into consideration the tournaments held at the Morgan Complex. The study did not include the large regional tournament held by the Optimist last year, or any tournaments held at Legion Park.
The 2013 schedule currently stands at 15 events and more are expected.
“Our job now is to keep building on the foundation that we have.” Hughes said, “In addition to the weekend tournaments, The Optimist held a large regional tournament here last year, and Top Gun is going to hold a regional event here in the fall. The bigger the better.”
Hughes said that when the Morgan Complex was first built, there were two objectives: to provide a high quality baseball and softball complex for local teams to use within the Parks and Recreation program and to present a location for travel tournaments to be played.
Since the first pitch, the complex has served as the gem for Scotland County Parks and Recreation. The growth of tournaments has proven a longer journey. But the fruits of those efforts now appear to be coming forward.
“We have been working with the management of Parks and Recreation over the past few years to develop a partnership that tournament directors can find attractive,” said Hughes. “Tournament directors have come out and inspected the complex. They all agree it is one of the premier locations in the area. The concessions and field maintenance are also what they are looking for. And the TDA has worked with directors on promotions to attract teams.”
Hughes went on to emphasize that the success has been a result of a community wide effort.
“Parks and Recreation are the ones that really make this happen. Without Shannon Newton and Al Blades, the tournament directors would not be coming here. But we also need to acknowledge the importance of the local travel teams staying home and playing in tournaments here. All of the directors have said the same thing, ‘if your local teams stay, we can make tournaments.’ And that has been proven.”