As I sat in Charleston earlier this week during a vacation that was part business-my nephew’s travel team baseball tournament- and part pleasure-if you can call it that, our failed chef, ghost-hunting tour guide went hitless when it came to jokes embedded in his twice-daily spiel priced at $18 per person-the same questions kept rolling around in my mind. Aside from thinking about what kind of habits I was supporting at $18 an hour, I got to thinking about two questions.
1. How much money does the city of Charleston make off of events such as the one I was attending?
2. With the Nike Peach Jam, Peach State Showcase, and the Georgia 14-and-under Long Course Swimming Championships in town last week, what type of economic impact did they have on the CSRA?
The answer to the first question is hard to measure. As a city with a never-ending tourism season, Charleston could make more money off parked cars than some little league tournament any day. But that’s not the point.
Summer is synonymous with vacation, especially in the month of July. It’s the last full month before the high-school/college/NFL football train starts rolling, and because of it, priorities (Read: Marriages) are on the rocks until well after the new-year.
With Augusta having a close proximity to a plethora of beaches and vacation destinations- “Ever been on the ghost tour in Charleston?”- July becomes a slow month for business in the CSRA. Well, until last week happened.
Basically from the middle to the end of July, Augusta gets a $3 Million dollar shot in the arm.
This strong showing at the end of a “slow” month comes from a few sources.
Nike Peach Jam-Riverview Park, North Augusta- EYBL(Elite Youth Basketball League) Finals for 17U (17 and under) 24 travel teams, 16 16U teams, 400+ coaches and assistants, national media, and families of participants.
Peach State Showcase- a satellite tournament created off of success of Peach Jam, 150 teams playing in multiple locations in Aiken and Augusta, families of participants
Nike Nationals-Riverview Park, North Augusta- premier 17U girls basketball travel team tournament with 24 of the top teams and a 16U tournament as well, coaches and assistants, and families of participants.
Georgia 14U Long Course State Championships-Augusta Aquatics Center, Augusta- 700+ athletes along with families of participants.
This is an encouraging figure the CSRA can depend on, along with the ESi Ironman Competition in September, when it comes to incoming money for the area. And at a time when our local dollars are spread across beaches on the east coast, it’s nice to know we have the national profile and prestige to make the CSRA more than just a one-horse town.