WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The 9th annual Beach Soccer Classic kicked off in New Hanover County over the weekend, bringing thousands of people to the area.
155 teams competed in the two-day tournament, ushering in 2,200 players, 150 coaches, and 120 referees to the Cape Fear. The annual event is is hosted by the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC, and sanctioned by the N.C. Youth Soccer Association.
Games were spread out across seven different locations, and teams came from as far as South Carolina and Virginia.
For an area that mainly sees tourists during summer months, it’s positive for the local economy to see a tourism boost in the off-season.
With attendees renting hotel rooms, dining out at local restaurants, and spending on other miscellaneous items, the New Hanover County Tourism Authority estimated the tournament would create a total economic impact of $2.25 million.
Beach Soccer Classic program director Dani Pittman said she hoped the benefits would extend beyond this one weekend.
“May, June, July is the bulk of when we get the most tourists, so for us to be able to bring an event during the off-season, the economic impact is a little over $2 million, so for us to be able to bring in families, during what’s kind of a down season for us, is phenomenal for the area, and what we hope is that they come, they have a great time here, and they’ll come back and spend a weekend that isn’t soccer related.”
Pittman said the event grew twenty percent since last year, and she hopes it will continue to grow in the future.