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Posted on: February 17, 2022

City of Columbia Parks & Recreation Awarded Champion of Economic Impact Award in Sports Tourism

Sports Tourism Award

The City of Columbia Parks and Recreation is honored to have been awarded the title as a 2021 Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism for the Premier Girls Fastpitch Super Select Championship hosted at Ridley Sports Complex from April 30 - May 2, 2021. This award is presented by Sports Destination Management, the leading publication with the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism market, and Traveling Teams, the leading provider of travel accommodation services for youth sports teams and event directors.

The Premier Girls Fastpitch Super Select Championship brought in over $1.8 million in total economic impact, with 2,500 rooms booked for overnight stays in Columbia. The tournament drew in approximately 3,500 individuals, while teams traveled from all over the country.

Parks and Recreation Director Mack Reagan stated, “Economic impact is vital, not only on the community but in the Parks and Recreation Department. It provides for high-level facilities and improves the overall quality of all parks within the recreation system. We are very fortunate to have a City Manager, Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and City Council that have the vision to allow us to succeed at this level.”

This year’s Champion of Economic Impact winners are responsible for contributing over $400 million to the national economy over the past year. Sports Destination Management explained, “Showcasing the best youth fastpitch softball teams in the nation, Premier Girls Fastpitch events are held in the highest regard. As a result, the chosen venues, their quality, and commitment to excellence must meet and match that level of play as Ridley Sports Complex did. Behind hard work, thoughtful planning, and high standards (including the obvious stringent health guidelines) this event was an enormous success and can serve as a template for other national events and will be developed into a multi-week sports tourism event in 2022.” 

“I couldn't be more proud of our Parks and Recreation Department and their continued good, innovative approach when it comes to Parks and Recreation programming in the City of Columbia,” stated Mayor Chaz Molder. Molder went on to say, “This award proves what we already know: that we have the best Parks and Recreation Department in the state and that Ridley Park continues to reap benefits for this community by bringing in outside revenue for tournaments, all the while encouraging and promoting youth sports. A win-win!”

The City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department will be hosting four more similarly sized events in 2022. Ridley Sports Complex has proved to be an asset to the City by continuing to represent large sports tournaments throughout the region and beyond. The returning tournaments will result in an increase in economic impact throughout the year and years to come. To learn more, visit https://bit.ly/3uTXlOn.

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