Softball tournament brings revenue

Softball tournament brings revenue
TRI-CITIES -- Staying active and spending a ton of money. It's no secret that the Tri-Cities is home to dozens of huge events each year.

But which ones are the biggest cash cows for our local economy? Here's a hint: instead of powered boats... Try prayer.

The National Softball Association Ice Breakers tournament was in full swing this weekend. While the annual event brings droves of happy sports fans, it's also home run for local businesses.

“I'm guessing I dropped about 450-500 dollars in Tri-Cities here," says Bob Gunderson. He made the trip from Montana to watch his granddaughter play in the tournament.

He gave us a break down of all things he spent money on. "I spent probably 180 on the hotel motel. And another--at least that much for food and then we bought some softball stuff," he says. Bob is in good company.

According to the Tri-City Visitor and Convention Bureau, events will bring in 1.2 million dollars in local revenue this year. That's money that helps bolster the economy and pays for city projects. But how does this weekend stack up against other big weekends in our area?

I found out it's not even close to the top.

The biggest event by far is the Jehovah’s Witness convention, which takes place over three weekends in August. The hydro races come in a distant second. Rounding out the list are two softball tournaments— The one this weekend and then another in June.

“It's really big for the Tri-City area. Out of the 141 teams, about 100 plus are spending the night," says tournament director Steve Jensen. He has organized the tournaments since they came here seven years ago.

He says a lot of the revenue comes from hotels. And with growing interest in the tournament, you can bet you'll see a lot of the same faces next year. Bob Gunderson says, “We’ll be back.”