COLUMBIA — The BC Baseball league expects a total economic impact of more than $500,000 from three baseball tournaments scheduled to be held from May to July 2012.
BC Baseball will host the tournaments in Columbia for teams with participants ages 9 to 14. The Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board at its regular Monday meeting voted to provide a total of $32,000 in grants to support the tournaments.
The local nonprofit organization was established in 1993 with eight teams. It has since expanded to more than 60 teams. It offers not only league play but also tournaments and a baseball academy.
Director Steve Reller spoke to the 14-member advisory board about the importance of not only the league to Columbia in general, but also to those who participate in it.
"We teach life lessons through baseball," Reller said.
The board agreed to contribute money to three tournaments next year. The league hopes they become a "continuing staple" in Columbia, according to its report to the board. The money will come from the bureau's Sports Development Fund. Here is information about the three events:
- The Home School High School State Championship, May 3-6. The board discussed how there is no event like it in the state and that it should be a great success, given the growth of home schooling in Missouri. BC Baseball expects a total projected economic impact of more than $100,000 with 300 to 350 overnight stays in hotels and more than 1,100 out-of-county visitors, according to a report it provided to board members. The board approved $4,015 for the event, which is 49 percent of its total budget. The money will help pay for awards, field rentals and umpire costs.
- The 14 & Under AA State Championship, June 21-24. The tournament was hosted for the past three years in the St. Louis area, but BC Baseball hopes to host the tournament in Columbia permanently in the future. BC Baseball expects there will be a total projected economic impact of more than $44,000. That includes 120 to 160 hotel stays and more than 500 out-of-county visitors. While BC Baseball applied for funding of $5,409, the board voted to contribute $3,000 because the event is not entirely new to Columbia and because it's being held in conjunction with the 11 & Under AA State Championship will also be held the same weekend.
- The National Academy and Club Championships, July 11-15. Reller described the event as a unique "world series" type of event that allows academies and clubs from around the country to compete against each other. BC Baseball would own the event, which proved to be another deciding factor for the board, which approved a grant of $25,000 to help pay for awards, field rental, tent rental, umpire costs and facility rental for opening ceremonies. The total projected economic impact is more than $360,000. That includes between 4,000 and 4,600 hotel stays and more than 4,000 out-of-county visitors.