Tournaments, conventions generate millions for Kingsport

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KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – The City of Kingsport is seeing the benefits of its marketing.

More than 40 baseball teams are checking into hotels, eating in restaurants and shopping at stores across the Model City.

The city said this weekend’s baseball tournament will provide a multi-million dollar influx to the economy.

Chef’s Pizzeria, located on West New Street in downtown Kingsport, is no stranger to a typical rush-hour, but in the past few weeks, owner Stephen Lahair and his staff seem to have a little less downtime.

“We definitely stay busy,” Lahair said. “But you can tell when the teams coming, especially when a team comes in and they roll up and they want to feed 20 athletes and their families and they fill up a dining room. Or you get that phone call and they want 20 or 30 pizzas delivered up to their hotel.”

Athletes that have been attending tournaments, like this week’s USSSA World Series. Even though Kingsport has been hosting tournaments like this since 1989, Frank Lett with the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau said this will be a record year for the sports side.

“This year we have 30 events we either operate or support that are sports related,” Lett said.

Lett added that the economic goal through this stretch of tournaments, conventions and FunFest is to generate around $10 million for the city.

“It just drops a lot of sales tax here in our area that it’s basically what we like to refer to as found money,” he said. “It’s nothing nobody here locally is paying for, so just free money for the economy.”

That money not only impacts just Kingsport. Some dollars are spent when visitors venture to other parts of the Tri-Cities.

“When people see the license plate from out of town all over the pace, when you go to a restaurant on a two-hour wait on a Wednesday night, it’s got to be good for those restaurant owners,” Lett said.

And restaurant owners, like Lahair, are sure to cut a hearty slice of the economic pie.Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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