This weekend, 62 little league baseball teams met up at Ardmore Regional Park for the Oklahoma Texas Shootout. Last week the number was 58, and on the final weekend of the month another 60 are slated to appear.
The games begin Friday evening, run through Saturday, and finish Sunday evening. Tes Stewart, Recreation Director at Ardmore Parks and Recreation, described how this benefits not only the park, but business all over Southern Oklahoma.
“It brings so much to the community,” Stewart said. “Not only for us by bringing people into our parks, but I’m pretty sure most of our hotels are full. We also have restaurants calling us asking how many teams we have coming in for the weekend because they have to make sure they don’t run out of food and that they have enough staff scheduled for all of the extra people.”
Stewart said that she knows some of the teams have stayed as far south as WinStar World Casino and Resort and they have also asked about nearby RV Parks because area hotels were full.
“You know when there’s a big tournament here,” Stewart said. “Everywhere gets packed. We went out to eat last Friday and there was over an hour wait everywhere you went.”
Dawnia Cravatt, the general manager of the La Quinta Inn and Suites and also serves on the Ardmore Tourism Authority,said it’s not just team members and coaches staying for the weekend.
“Every hotel gets business from these tournaments,” Cravatt said. “It’s the whole family, and supportive grandparents that come to stay.”
She added that every aspect of the hotel business experiences increased revenue over tournament weekends.
“They don’t just buy our hotel rooms when they are staying with us,” Cravatt said. “They also buy things from our suite shop (snack shop). For those locations with restaurants and bars, they see their sales go up.”
Stewart said it isn’t just hotels and restaurants that see an increase in revenue. Local sporting good stores also see an influx in sales.
“People are always looking for softballs, baseballs, bats, and new pants if theirs get torn,” Stewart said. “You know that the new Academy is going to be packed when it opens.”
Stewart said that this year there are 19 different tournaments scheduled over the course of the spring and summer. While very few have 60 different teams participating in them, most have around 25 to 30.
“It’s great for the economy and all of the new things we are getting,” Stewart said. “It brings people here, shows them our town, and all the different things we have to offer.”