Dixie Youth World Series brings major economic impact

LUMBERTON — About six weeks got rid of from the Dixie Youth World Series, held in Lumberton from Aug. 5-11, the impact of the development at the group is starting to develop into extra transparent.

More than 1,500 out-of-town guests got here to Lumberton to wait, contributing greater than $800,000 to the Lumberton and Robeson County financial system throughout the event, the Lumberton Visitors Bureau mentioned.

“I think it was a very good impact to Lumberton, and I think the city saw that impact,” mentioned Tim Locklear, president of the Lumberton Youth Baseball Association. “Hopefully we can have similar-type events in the future so that we can put Lumberton back on the map again. I think we have from a baseball standpoint; I think Dixie Youth and the baseball world knows who we are.”

The town hosted its 3rd World Series, after the Division-I event used to be held in Lumberton in 2018 and the Division-II tournament in 2019. This yr’s Division-I World Series, like the former two, used to be performed on the Dr. Raymond B. Pennington Athletic Complex on Linkhaw Road in northeastern Lumberton.

The Lumberton Visitors Bureau labored with discipline traders and organizations to offer over 400 “Welcome to Lumberton” baggage that have been disbursed on the coaches assembly, held at Lumberton High School. Teams from 11 states across the Southeast participated within the tournament. The Bureau verified with Lumberton-area accommodations that over 1,600 lodge rooms have been used for the development.

The North Carolina Sports Association estimates that each and every individual visiting Lumberton for the development spent $150 according to day in their seek advice from, together with lodging, eating, buying groceries, actions, buying groceries, transportation, and so forth.

“Sports tourism is a growing segment of the travel industry, and we are excited to work with LYBA, the City of Lumberton and other sports entities in our area to develop and draw more events like the Dixie Youth World Series to our community,” mentioned Arnold West, chair of the Lumberton Tourism Development Authority Board, which oversees the Lumberton Visitors Bureau.

Numerous volunteers helped make the development a luck; this contains host households. Each crew had a neighborhood circle of relatives to function their “host” and assist them to find their manner across the group and responded questions on their keep.

“I had state directors reaching back out, trying to get in contact with those host families so they could send thank yous and gifts, and to me that’s what made the difference,” Locklear mentioned. “We have a nice park — but it’s not all about the facility, it’s about the community coming together and showing our hospitality, and that made an impact.”

After internet hosting 3 World Series since 2018, its transparent Dixie Youth Baseball is at ease keeping its tournaments in Lumberton. And league officers and town officers alike have been proud of how this yr’s event went off.

“I thought we put on a really good show,” mentioned Bruce Mullis, treasurer of the LYBA. “We kept getting asked, when are we going to do it again, are we going to bid in a couple of years, so that speaks volumes to the City of Lumberton and the LYBA, and all the things that we did to try to make the experience to be a great experience for the kids, which was the main reason for bringing the World Series here, and also supporting the community. And the community supported us in a big way.”

That long run is, at this level, unclear. What is sure is that town gained’t host the World Series in 2023 or 2024, because the event is bid two years out; bids for the 2024 World Series have been heard throughout the Dixie Youth board conferences which happened at Robeson Community College throughout this yr’s event.

“This was our third; it’s a lot of work and a lot of volunteers,” Locklear mentioned. “If it’s something that we want to do for 2025 or 2026 we’d have to sit down with the city.”

In addition to perhaps in need of to “take a break” after just lately internet hosting 3 World Series, there are query marks about how the Pennington Complex holds up in comparison to different amenities being constructed or increasing across the Southeast.

“I’m not sure we’re going to bring another Dixie Youth World Series here, only because there’s a lot of other communities who their facilities are — they’re building $30 million facilities in some of these communities around the Southeast at different places, that they can do multiple things with,” Mullis mentioned.

Dixie Youth’s blueprint for its tournaments, when keeping the World Series for 3 age divisions because it did in Lumberton, is for 6 fields; the Pennington Complex has a 6th subject clear of its pinwheel, however has used handiest the five-field pinwheel for the World Series it has hosted. Mullis believes Dixie Youth Baseball is having a look to additional consolidate its World Series occasions — between the 4 age divisions in Division I and Division II, there are 8 — to be held in the similar position as regularly as imaginable.

Future plans for the Pennington Complex, authorized in April 2021 by means of Lumberton City Council, come with softball and football fields and disc golfing direction, along with different non-sports facilities together with a touch pad, canine park, live performance garden and expanded strolling trails.

“I don’t know that they would award Lumberton, even though from an organizational standpoint, a hospitality standpoint, all those details they love us; but I think our facility would have to grow,” Mullis mentioned. “Until we get the other four fields built, and I don’t know how long that would be — it will be up to the mayor and City Council, and the citizens to step up and say we’re going to build out the rest of this.”

While Mullis mentioned the LYBA’s dating with Dixie Youth Baseball hasn’t ever been more potent, he anticipates the group to shift to internet hosting state- and district-level tournaments in the meanwhile, whilst additionally ensuring the Lumberton Softball Association has “equitable” use of the Pennington Complex and leaving the door open for it to doubtlessly host long run identical occasions.

But whether or not or no longer Lumberton ever hosts the Dixie Youth World Series once more at some point, leaders are proud of the result, organizationally, of the tournaments which were hosted within the town.

“To my knowledge, everyone has gone away with a great feeling about Lumberton,” Mullis mentioned. “Our hospitality has been second to none in all three World Series that we hosted; that was one of the big takeaways we got from the Dixie officials this time and the past two World Series, and our community stepped up in a big way.”

Chris Stiles may also be reached at 910-816-1977 or by means of e-mail at [email protected] You can practice him on Twitter at @StilesOnSports.

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