Youth sports are big business for Sioux Falls. This summer alone Sioux Falls hosted three dozen events with an estimated $20 million economic impact.
This week the Rockford Register Star newspaper in Illinois wrote a story on Sioux Falls' youth sport investment and how it’s paying off. Now Rockford is trying to spend millions to upgrade its facilities to stay competitive in the sports tournament and event industry.
"It's a business now, even though it's separate events, if you look at it all together, it is a large business now here in Sioux Falls," Sioux Falls City Council member Kenny Anderson Junior said.
And it's clear that other communities are noticing what is going on in Sioux Falls. Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Teri Schmidt did an interview with the newspaper about how Sioux Falls is a major competitor for these events.
"The gentlemen who did the interview with me said, ‘Rockford has got to get going, you guys are pulling out way ahead of us,’" Schmidt said.
Just in July alone the city hosted four different state and national softball tournaments along with three different baseball tournaments, bringing in more entertainment tax dollars in that month than any other month in the past two and a half years.
Schmidt says Sioux Falls has the right combination of restaurants, hotels and top notch sporting facilities.
"When you have all of that together as a mixture with the hospitality and such that's what people are looking for," Schmidt said.
But Schmidt and Anderson add the community's support help set the city apart.
"The number one attraction to this city is our citizens because once people meet them that's the first thing I hear is how friendly, how clean, and how welcoming our city is. That's what makes us competitive," Anderson said.
The Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau says the number of sporting events the city hosted this summer translated into 35,000 nights stayed in hotel rooms across the city, bringing in even more revenue in lodging taxes.