Local News

Triangle Businesses Hope To Score Home Run With Softball Tournament

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RALEIGH — Softball teams from across the country are in Raleigh this week for the Pony National Softball Tournament. Tourism officials say landing the tournament could not have come at a better time for city businesses.

The Pony National Softball tournament is a big hit for Wake County businesses. The games are expected to pump millions of dollars into the local economy. Visitors have booked 7,000 hotel rooms at a time when business is usually slow. The softball players and their families also like to shop.

Maureen DeMatteo, a mother from Orange County, Connecticut, estimates her family will spend at least $2,000 while visiting the Triangle this week.

"They're looking at the clothes and looking for souvenirs. They're buying for their boyfriends," she says.

Triangle officials were able to steal the tournament away from northern Virginia this year. They say the large number of quality softball facilities and hotels really helped.

Low-profile, youth tournaments are the wave of the future according to tourism experts. Several of the tournaments can add up to one high-profile event like the CIAA tournament.

"The CIAA tournament has an economic impact of about $9 million a year on our economy," says Wake County sports marketing director Scott DuPree. "The Pony Softball tournament has an economic impact of about $2 million, so it's certainly not as big as the CIAA tournament, but a $2 million economic impact is nothing to laugh at."

The Triangle will host the tournament for the next two years. If you would like to check it out, the teams are playing at Bond Park in Cary and at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex in Raleigh.