By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
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 of new money for Mercer County’s economy.
The Princeton-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce and the East River Soccer Association is hosting the Second annual PMCCC-East River Soccer Classic on May 4-5 at the East River Soccer Complex off John Nash Boulevard in Bluefield.
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 teams are expected to return this year. Organizers expect 22 to 23 teams.
The visitors have a good impact on the county’s economy, said Robert Farley, president of the Princeton-Mercer chamber. Numbers quickly add up.
“Let’s say you have 20 teams, and they have approximately 12 players per team,” Farley said. “That’s 240 kids. In most cases, they’ve got mom and dad coming with them, and maybe grandma and grandpa.”
All the teams and visitors combined could bring approximately 480 people to Mercer County for the weekend. Each family could spend up to $100 a night for two nights in a local motel or hotel, Farley said. This adds up to about $96,000 just in accommodations. The next item is food.
“I’m going to be conservative,” Farley said of his calculations. Each of these 480 visitors could spend $20 a day on food. This adds up to approximately $9,600.
“You’re well over $100,000. That’s new money coming into the economy over the weekend,” he stated.
Adding “incidentals” such as buying other items in local stores could raise the total sum to $118,000 or $120,000 of new money in the county’s economy. The overall figure increases when the number of teams attending the tournament increases, Farley said.
“The soccer complex in Bluefield is one of the best,” he said. “It’s a fun time for the kids. It’s good for the adults, and it shows off our area.”