Lexington, SC (WLTX) - Sports tournaments, like the World Series in baseball or bowl games in football, can not only boost the winning team's reputation, but also the host town's economy. Lexington can now hope for both in 2014, as they will host the Dixie Youth World Series, bringing 36 teams here to the Palmetto State.
Lawn mowers were running Tuesday afternoon at the Lexington Sports Complex. Chances are the grass will have to be mowed again before the games two years from now, but folks in Lexington aren't wasting any time getting ready. "We start meeting every two weeks, and then about 12 months from now, we'll start meeting every week," explains Lexington Dixie Youth President James Thompson, "When they come rolling into town, it's just like, unlock the key, open the door. We want it to be ready for them. And we will be."
Thompson was confident in their pitch to the committee in Florida. "We actually have people trying to register here that don't live here, by having a post office box here, because they know Lexington is a big baseball town. They know the level and caliber of baseball here in Lexington is top notch," he says.
Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre is confident too, in the big boost the 36 teams will bring to the town. "You're looking at roughly 500 baseball players from age 9-12," he says, "We're looking at bringing the parents, the grandparents. We predict that the first two or three nights, when everybody's in town, we're looking at 18 to 2000 hotel and motel rooms booked. We're looking at an economic impact of 1.5 to 2 million dollars."
And because of it's central location, the tournament could be a home run for the state as a whole.
Although they were up against one other city, Halfacre said the World Series committee's decision was unanimous for Lexington, and made immediately after their presentation. The trip was paid for by corporate sponsors and officials say that show of support helped secure them the tournament as well.