Thousands of basketball fans are in the twin cities this weekend for the American Youth Basketball Tour National Tournament. It’s expected to have a significant impact on the local economy.
One hundred and forty teams from all over the Midwest are in Bloomington-Normal this weekend for the American Youth Basketball Tour National Tournament. The Twin Cities have hosted the tournament for the last 13 years.
“We’ve grown nicely since last year. We’re in four facilities, with 16 courts going all at the same time,” says Tournament Director Todd Barbour.
Boys and girls teams, from grade school to high school, compete in a four day long tournament the ends in a trophy.
“My granddaughter is playing basketball up here,” says spectator Ron Goacher. “She seems to enjoy it, so I travel wherever she travels.”
Barbour explains, “We see a lot of the same teams coming back each year. They like coming to Bloomington-Normal and to our events here.”
The tournament is expected to bring in more than $160,400 to the local economy.
“Everything from stopping and getting gas, to eating, to maybe buying some t-shirts,” explains Barbour. “Even the local teams that aren’t staying in hotels, they’ll go out to eat as a family or as a team.”
Rodney Brittman, General Manager of the Hyatt Place in Normal says, “The amount of extra income it brings to our small stores, to our larger stores, probably goes way beyond what people are thinking.”
The Hyatt Place has been open for less than a year. Officials say they’ve already seen a big impact from tournaments like the AYBT.
“All the tournaments that we bring helps the communities. Helps the hotels, the grocery stores the gas stations,” says Brittman. “It’s just fantastic. We hope there will continue to be an uptick.”
The tournament is being played at Illinois Wesleyan’s Shirk Center, Normal Community High School, Normal West High School, And Bloomington Central Catholic High School. It will wrap up on Sunday.
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