With youth sports set to return, Rock Hill hopes sports tourism dollars follow

With youth sports set to return, Rock Hill hopes sports tourism dollars follow

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - Sports tourism is big business down in Rock Hill and this pandemic has been costly for the city and the county.

The Rock Hill Indoor Sports and Event Center is a major money earner for the area. It being shutdown due to COVID-19 has cost Rock Hill millions through 5 months of this year.

“One venue like this was generating 40 or 50 thousand dollars a weekend,” said John Taylor who is the Director of Parks, Rec, & Tourism for Rock Hill. “What it does from an economic standpoint, we’re well into probably 10 millions dollars.”

That has also trickled down to the hotels as they have gone from 80 to 85 percent occupancy to just 17 to 30 percent. Restaurants are feeling the crunch as well. So yesterday’s news from Governor Henry McMasters allowing youth sports back is welcomed news for Rock Hill.

Practice can begin on May 30th and games can start on June 15th. Rock Hill is hoping to hold the BMX Carolinas Nationals on June 19th at the Super Track.

The city is use to holding mega tournaments with 150 teams in town from all over the country. Those may not happen right away as things will have to be done safely and that could mean less people to start out.

“It’s all about making it a good experience,” said Billy Dunlap who is president and CEO of Visit York County. “The last thing we want is for someone to come into a facility and be taken off guard with what they see. So we want to make sure that we are bringing them back correctly, bringing them back safely so that they will have a good experience while they are here.”

Just recently though Rock Hill proved on a national stage that they can host a sporting event safely. Back on May 9th, the Indoor Sports and Event Center hosted the National Cornhole Qualifier with out fans and it was televised on ESPN. A major statement for the city and the message was loud and clear.

“When it comes to sports tourism in this area, Rock Hill is king,” said Dunlap.

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