Chesterfield city officials — and businesses — have dollar signs in their eyes as a wave of girls high school softball players gets ready to sweep the city in late October and early November.
The 15th annual Women’s Softball Exposure Tournaments will bring 146 teams from 18 states to the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex. Their goal is to get a look from about 300 college coaches who will be recruiting potential scholarship players for their teams.
And Chesterfield city officials say the two tournaments — Oct. 26-28 and Nov. 2-4 — bring in big money for the business community, starting with multiple hotel nights as families come with their athletes and siblings.
According to a city survey after the 2011 showcase:
- 35 percent of visitors went at least one time to the Chesterfield Mall and spent an average of $222.
- 95 percent shopped or dined at other businesses in Chesterfield.
- Nearly 8 percent of participants spent over $1,000 during their stay.
- 89 percent spent up to $700, so the impact on the local economy is significant.
The showcase website shows 146 teams registered for the event. With a dozen athletes on each team, that's more than 1,750 people — plus coaches, parents and siblings.
Games will run from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. on each day of the tournament.
Vicki Schnieder, who runs The Batting Cage in Valley Park and Cottleville, has been one of the organizers of the showcase since its inception.
"A lot of kids get scholarships from this," Schnieder said. "We were talking 146 teams, at least 12 girls on each team. Some get good bites off of it."
Are you a local business owner or manager who has seen the benefit from this tournament? What's been the effect on your business? Do they visitors hit local businesses, or stick to the chains?