Sports Tourism A Big Winner For Joplin

JOPLIN, MO.--- It may look like just fun and games, but sporting events mean big business for the Joplin area.

"You're looking in excess of 2 million dollars in economic impact from sports," said Craig Hull, Director, Joplin Sports Authority.

The group responsible for bringing in the business is the nonprofit Joplin Sports Authority. The J.S.A. receives approximately $250,000 from the city hotel tax to help bring these tournaments into town.

"For every dollar we spend of our $250,000, we try to generate another $7 spent," said Hull.

This year, nearly 15,000 athletes will play in 49 different tournaments on fields across the region. Recent upgrades to the soccer and baseball fields at the Joplin Athletic Complex is one reason the area is becoming so popular.

"Because there's facilities to do these tournaments at, there's also other things for families to do when they come," said Patrick Tuttle, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Joplin.

Whether it's a baseball, soccer or tennis tournament, local businesses are coming up winners.

"We know they're spending money with our hotels, they are going to have to eat. While they are here, they are also looking to shop," said Hull.

One project which could help drive more people into town is a proposed $30 million Joplin commons project. It would include indoor basketball and volleyball courts, as well as a diving area and Olympic pool. City council members are currently considering approving that project using community block grant funds for the construction.

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