It’s no surprise Shuckers baseball and the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic bring in the fans and the revenue when it comes to sports on the Coast. Today, Huddle Up Group out of Phoenix showed coastal city leaders how to take the current sports tourism and better it.

The Gulf Coast Softball Classic, Shuckers baseball and the Gulf Resort Classic, they’re all sporting events that bring in big bucks to coast cities. Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast wants to see those numbers taken to the next level. In doing that, they reached out to a nationally recognized firm: the Huddle Up Group. “They were feet on the ground in December, touching every sports facility that we have across the Coast. They are coming to us today to present their recommendations for moving sports tourism forward,” said Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast Executive Director Renee Areng.

Huddle Up Group CEO and founder Jon Schmieder says making the Gulf Coast a stronger competitor in the world of sports tourism means reaching out to new fan bases. “There’s very limited supply of flat multi-use fields for sports like soccer and lacrosse. Quidditch is a hot sport, ultimate is a hot sport and so some of those we really don’t have anything that’s differentiating in this market that the staff could really go out and sale.”

Areng says one recommendation from the firm is already falling into place and that’s the Coast’s very first marathon which is set for December. Ultimately, both Schmieder and Areng say the goal is using sports to just get folks to see the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “People who haven’t been here don’t really know what the offering is. They don’t know how cool the Gulf is and how the beaches play in to that. The last two days up and down the beach, there have been a lot of people out there. We need to sell that better and the only way we do that is by getting decision makers to see it and experience it and go ‘Hey, I can see my event there,” said Schmieder
“We know that when people travel for sports tourism, they’ll return for vacation or they’ll make it there vacation,” said Areng.

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