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Soccer Gives Local Economy a Kick

Posted December 3, 2006

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— Local tourism officials say a five-week stretch of major tournaments at SAS Soccer Park in Cary has generated more than $8 million in direct spending and about 29,000 hotel-room nights for the area.

Since the first weekend of November, the area has attracted about 900 teams to the area with the ACC Women's Soccer Championship, NCAA Women's College Cup and four major youth soccer tournaments.

According to the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, soccer has brought in more revenue in Wake County in terms of visitor spending than all other major sports.

Officials estimate that as many as 8,350 spectators attended Sunday's championship game between North Carolina and Notre Dame. Combined with the Coca-Cola CASL Girls Showcase, they expected about $2.4 million of direct visitor spending and almost 10,500 hotel room nights for the weekend.

"It's been extremely busy -- about a 20 percent increase over sales," said Claudia Hernandez, who owns Christie's Restaurant in Cary.

Tourism officials said that is because the Capital Area Soccer League brings in future College Cup players.

"There's no other organization in this market in sports that does that much in terms of the number of major youth tournaments," said Scott Dupree, director of sports marketing for the visitors bureau.

This is the fourth straight year SAS Soccer Park has hosted a college cup tournament. Next year, it will host the men's tournaments.
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