Big Softball Tourney Takes Team Effort in Tri-State

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Tourism officials in Evansville expect Deaconess Sports Park, which opened in May 2015, to have as high as a $16 million annual economic impact on the Tri-State. Tourism officials in Evansville expect Deaconess Sports Park, which opened in May 2015, to have as high as a $16 million annual economic impact on the Tri-State.

The city of Evansville will partner with neighbor Owensboro, Kentucky next summer to host a week of girl's softball tournaments that could attract more than 200 teams from throughout the country. Tourism officials anticipate the 2016 National Softball Association Girls' Fast Pitch "B" World Series could have a $2.1 million economic impact on the region.

The NSA events have become a regular occurrence at various sites throughout Indiana in recent years. Events in northwest and central Indiana have brought tens of thousands of visitors from surrounding states to Indiana. Earlier this week, the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority announced it will host the 2016 "A" World Series, which it says could inject more than $3 million into the local economy.

The Evansville region event will feature teams from states bordering Indiana, as well as others including Iowa, New York and Wisconsin. The games will take place between July 18 and July 24 and involve use of around two dozen fields. Venues in Evansville will include the recently-complete, $16.5 million Deaconess Sports Park and Vann Road Park. The Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau expects around 8,500 to come to the Tri-State for the event.

CVB Executive Director Bob Warren says "when the Evansville CVB announced we were building the Deaconess Sports Park, we envisioned hosting large national tournaments. We expected it would take a few years to make a name for ourselves that would attract a tournament of this stature. But in less than one season, we are happy to report we are well ahead of our projected goals with this sports park."

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says attracting the "B" World Series is in-line with a city-wide push for sports tourism dollars. "Hosting the event is yet another step towards establishing Evansville as a major player in the youth sports destination market. It also demonstrates a regional team effort to land tournaments, such as the NSA Girls’ Fast Pitch World Series, which will contribute millions of dollars directly into our local economy."

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