NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Sports tourism is one of the industry’s fastest-growing sectors, and South Carolina’s Grand Strand is taking advantage.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports Friday that a new sports tourism complex in North Myrtle Beach will be finished next spring and is expected to attract about 20,000 participants by the end of 2014.

“And that doesn’t count moms and dads, grandmoms and granddads,” said Matt Gibbons, the city’s superintendent of sports tourism. When spending by entire families is considered, that’s expected to mean a $15 million tourism impact.

So far, 63 events have already been scheduled at the complex that will open in March.

The complex can be used for baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse. The 160-acre site also has a meadow, an amphitheater, a playground, a dog park and picnic shelters.

In addition, Myrtle Beach has also just broken ground on a $15 million indoor sports complex near the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

The new complexes will allow more sports tournaments to be held in the area outside of the prime tourist season. In the past, such events were held at local schools.

For most of the events staged in North Myrtle Beach, officials are requiring that participants book rooms in the city. The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce has hired a person to handle the requests.

The area’s beaches and other attractions are expected to help draw tournaments that otherwise might go elsewhere.

“You give kids a chance of going to Rock Hill for a tournament or coming to North Myrtle Beach for a tournament, you’re going to come here,” said Marc Jordan, the chamber’s president.


Information from: The Sun News,