A Delmarva Now article (2017-05-24) reported that Wicomico County will host the Athletx organization in 2018 for the Youth Baseball Nationals. This new week-long tournament is expected to generate $5 million in revenues and joins several existing high-profile events that the County hosts, such as the Governor’s Challenge basketball tournament and the USSSA Softball tournament. The article noted that that County and State are investing $3 million to expand the Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex which will host the tournament. From the article:
“We are now going to take that facility to the next level, and we’re very, very excited about that,” Director of Wicomico County Recreation, Parks & Tourism Steve Miller said. …
Jim Haddaway, CEO of Athletx said he was blown away by the new fields at Parker Complex and is committed to making it a long-term home of these tournaments. …
With the new upgrades to the Parker Complex, paired with the general location and scenery of the surrounding area, Haddaway felt signing a contract with Wicomico County was a no-brainer.
“When I walked up this morning on this, I was blown away,” Haddaway said, standing on the turf field. “This turf looks beautiful, the surrounding area is gorgeous, you’re close to the beach – it has everything that we look for in a destination and we can’t be more than thrilled to bring our event here.”
The article discussed how the County has worked to attract several national events and the economic benefits they have brought. For example, the article noted that the USSA softball tournament has been in Wicomico County for the past 10 years and has annually averaged $17 million in benefits to the County economy. From the article:
“It’s important we retain the events we have, but we also want to expand. You look at the economic impact of those things and the numbers don’t lie. These events are on a national stage, we’re a small community on the Eastern Shore, but we’re attracting and retaining national caliber events, and that’s huge for our community,” Miller said. …
“We’re blessed in the state of Maryland that Wicomico County is the leader in the youth and amateur sports markets,” [Maryland Sports Executive Director Terry] Hasseltine said. “They are stalwarts in the community of Maryland; they’re also well-known and well-respected and appreciated on the national scene.”
While having the opportunity to play on a brand new field could be reason enough for some organizations to come to Wicomico, County Executive Bob Culver made sure Haddaway and other Athletx officials had the full “Eastern Shore experience” when pitching the idea to come to the Shore.
“We try to show them as much hospitality as we possibly can and give them the Wicomico hospitality treatment,” Culver said. “It’s showing that we are a player in a much larger scale in the state of Maryland.”