Three Tennessee cities awarded for sports tourism

Columbia's James Ridley Park is home to the Premier Girls Fastpitch Super Select Championship, which brings girls fastpitch softball teams from all over the country to compete against each other.

Events in three Tennessee municipalities have received national awards for their contributions to sports tourism.  

A softball tournament in Columbia, basketball tournament in Gatlinburg, and soccer tournament in Murfreesboro have all been lauded at the 2022 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism, presented by Sports Destination Management.  

The city of Columbia and Gatlinburg’s Rocky Top Sports World both won 2022 Small Market Champion awards. Columbia won for the Premier Girls Fastpitch Super Select Championship at the Ridley Sports Complex that brought nearly 80 fastpitch softball teams from more than 20 states to the city. The event generated an estimate 85,000 overnight hotel stays and had a total economic impact of $10.3 million in the area.  

Gatlinburg’s Rocky Top Sports World was awarded for the Rocky Top Invitational, a boys’ basketball tournament also presented by On The Radar Hoops. The event drew participants from all over the world, was livestreamed on BallerTV, and also brought players and professional scouts together. The event brought together more than 140 teams and more than 1,400 participants in Gatlinburg, generating more than 2,500 hotel stays and $1.6 million in economic impact.  

Murfreesboro’s Rutherford County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau also won the Innovation in Sports Tourism award for the Homeschool Soccer Championship. The small regional competition has grown to a premier national event over 16 years and attracted more than 1,000 high school athletes from more than 50 teams and 14 states to the Richard Siegel Soccer Park operated by the city of Murfreesboro. The event generated 1,430 hotel stays and generated $1.4 million in economic impact.