As spring sports swing into high gear in coastal Alabama, Gulf Shores High School (GSHS) will host soccer, baseball and softball tournaments in which entry fees and ticket sales help fund the school’s athletic programs. In 2013, GSHS-hosted tournaments generated 8,280 room nights and $2.9 million in direct visitor spending, boosting the local economy, according to Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission (GSOBSC) figures.
Educating students from both beach cities, GSHS brings families together from one end of Pleasure Island to the other.
“High schools in any community are key in bringing people together,” Ben Blackmon, GSHS athletic director, said. “We’re unique in that we’re supported by two cities. We have a symbiotic relationship with the community – we depend on the community, and they depend on us.”
Blackmon, who has served as GSHS’s athletic director since 2011, added that the high school’s athletic events boost revenue for the cities, and the cities, in turn, meet the needs of the high school.
GSOBSC assists local groups, including GSHS, facilitate many athletic tournaments throughout the year in addition to bringing in regional and national sporting events.
“Sports tourism begins at the local level,” Beth Gendler, vice president of sales for the GSOBSC, said. “Local student-athletes and their families support visiting athletic events, and many of these local rising stars come back to compete in collegiate events and beyond, bringing in more fans, resulting in tourism dollars. Additionally, Gulf Shores High School does a tremendous job of bringing our beach communities together and furthering our goal of promoting sports tourism throughout the area.”
For information on upcoming athletic events along Alabama’s Gulf Coast, visit www.gulfshoresorangebeachsports.com, or call 1-800-745-SAND.
Spring 2014 Gulf Shores High School Tournaments:
Island Cup Soccer Tournament: Feb. 21-22
Dolphin Classic Softball Tournament: Feb. 28-March 1
Gulf Coast Classic I Softball Tournament: March 10-12
Gulf Coast Classic I Baseball Tournament: March 10-13
Gulf Coast Classic II Softball Tournament: March 24-26
Gulf Coast Classic II Baseball Tournament: March 24-27
Gulf Coast Classic Soccer Tournament: March 28-29
Orange Beach Invitational Softball Tournament: April 25-26
About Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission is a partnership between Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and the Cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. In 2007, this commission became a department within Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism. In this role, the commission - along with assistance from both cities – works to bring quality sporting events to Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism is an official corporate sponsor of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). To learn more about a whole different state of play, please visit www.gulfshoresorangebeachsports.com.