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Greenville County recreation generating big bucks

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Soccer competition from 2012 U.S. Youth Soccer Region 3 Championship in Greenville. (Photo/Provided)Baseball, soccer and swimming tournaments being hosted at Greenville County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department venues and across the Upstate through next week are predicted to have a $6.5 million economic benefit, county Sports Tourism Manager Jeff Poole said. The regional events are expected to attract 15,000 out-of-county visitors.

Baseball, soccer and swimming tournaments hosted at Greenville County Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department venues and across the Upstate through next week are predicted to have a $6.5 million economic benefit, county Sports Tourism Manager Jeff Poole said. The regional events are expected to attract about 15,000 visiting participants and spectators, Poole said.

“It’s unique we are having three large-scale events going on simultaneously,” said Poole, who is in his 11th year with the county. The participating teams are from 15 different states, he said. Including local participants and spectators, about 20,000 people are expected.

Poole said “10,000 hotel room nights will be used” by the soccer teams alone.

The Black Bear Classic baseball tournament, which includes high school-age teams from as far away as Minnesota, started Wednesday at Greenville County and city parks and at colleges and high schools in other Upstate counties. Poole said the baseball tournament that continues through Sunday includes 131 teams and is expected to generate about $2 million, or about 37% more than the impact of the 82-team tournament last year, he said.

The U.S. Youth Soccer Region 3 Championships start Friday following opening ceremonies today at the 16-field MESA Soccer Complex in Greer, with 216 teams from across the Southeast, Poole said. He said those games continue through June 30. Poole said the region championships event rotates around the Southeast and Greenville County’s recreation department was also host in 2012, when a Clemson University study showed a $4.2 million economic impact. Poole said about the same impact is expected from this year’s tournament.

About 450 swimmers are taking part in the Dash and Splash annual competition Friday through Sunday at the Westside Aquatic Complex, Poole said. Poole said the swimming is expected to generate about $300,000.

Reach Bill Poovey at 864-235-5677, ext. 104.

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