At a press conference yesterday at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, USSSA State Director Bill Dowell and County Executive Richard M. Pollitt, Jr. announced Wicomico County will host the 2012 USSSA World Series. This will be the sixth consecutive year of the tournament in Wicomico County; however, the volume of games hosted in the region will be far greater (only Kansas City, MO and Orlando, FL will host larger tournaments). The event will run from July 18-29, featuring 320 teams from 17 states and Canada.
The event is expected to bring a significant economic boost to the Wicomico region with $6 million generated in the county and an additional $6 million generated regionally. To further understand the significance of the 2012 USSSA World Series for the region, let’s compare this projection to Wicomico County’s total economic impact results from 2010-2011. According to Wicomico’s Tourism Office, from 2010-2011 it brought 46 events to the county, resulting in a $12.46 million economic impact. This lone event in 2012 is projected to produce nearly half of last year’s figures.
The magnitude of this event for the region is a crowning achievement for the Wicomico County Office of Sports Marketing and Tourism. Rarely does a single region host A, B, and C for each age group. For this tournament, Wicomico County will host 10U ABC, 12U ABC, 14U ABC, 16U ABC, and 18U Open and C. During Bill Dowell’s speech he highlighted four elements that led to Wicomico County landing a significant portion of games for the World Series, “Hotel service and accommodations, continued improvement of sports facilities, structure of Wicomico County Department of Tourism, and a loyal and dedicated staff that has stayed intact.” Hotels are expected to be filled to capacity and even require participants/spectators to stay in neighboring hotels in Dorchester and Worchester counties.
Wicomico County Tourism and Sports Marketing plans to attract similar large national events such as this in the future. They have identified sports marketing as the largest growth opportunity and source of economic impact. From 2005-2006 to 2010-2011, sports marketing has generated an additional $3 million in economic impact. Officials have already identified a plan to make Wicomico County and Maryland a big player in the sports/special events marketplace: Modernizing the Youth & Civic Center, aggressive sales programs, constant improvement/upkeep of facilities, targeting Baltimore, DC, and Philadelphia tourists, and an extensive hotel rebate program.