Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 25, 2013

Tourism kick

Soccer tourney great for Mercer

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — The return of the Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce-East River Soccer Classic is a great way to kick-start the summer tourism season in our region.

The May 4-5 tournament planned at the East River Soccer Complex off John Nash Boulevard in Bluefield is now entering its second year. And it’s already proving to be quite a tourism boost for our region.

The math associated with the tournament adds up. Take more than 20 youth soccer teams, multiply that by 12 players per team, add parents and other members of their families, figure in a two-day visit, and you have more than $100,000 in new revenue being pumped into Mercer County’s economy.

Teams registered for last year’s tournament came from the Roanoke, Christiansburg and Salem areas in Virginia, the Kingsport area in Tennessee, and the Clarksburg, Bridgeport and Mid-Ohio Valley regions of West Virginia as well as Beckley and Mercer County.

Those same teams are expected to return this year, along with others. In fact, organizers expect 22 to 23 teams to participate in this year’s tournament, according to Robert Farley, president of the Princeton-Mercer chamber.

Those out-of-town visitors have an immediate and positive impact on Mercer County’s economy. All of the team members and visitors combined could bring approximately 480 people to Mercer County for the weekend. And if each family spends up to $100 a night for two nights in a local motel or hotel, it adds up to about $96,000 just in accommodations, according to Farley. And that doesn’t include food. If each of these 480 visitors spend only $20 a day on food, it still creates approximately $9,600 in additional revenue.

Once you add everything up it equals to more than $100,000 in new revenue for Mercer County. And family members who spend time shopping at local stores could raise that estimate as high as $118,000 or $120,000 in new money for the county’s economy.

The soccer tournament is a great example of what should be done in our region to help promote additional tourism growth — and that’s not counting the already successful Hatfield-McCoy Trail System.

The Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce is to be applauded for bringing this popular soccer tournament back to our region, and we join the chamber in welcoming these out-of-town visitors back to our area. We hope they will enjoy their stay while also supporting local hotels, motels, restaurants, gas stations, shopping centers and malls.

 It is our hope that the tournament — and support for our local soccer facilities — will continue to grow. If you haven’t been to a local soccer game, please mark your calendar for the Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce-East River Soccer Classic next weekend.

It’s a great two-day, multi-state tournament in our own backyard. No travel is required to be a part of the fun. Come out once again this year and show your respect and support for both the local and visiting teams, as well as our out-of-town visitors.