The Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority is responsible for nearly $50 million dollars of economic impact through sports tournaments.
The Authority began recruiting tournaments to its parks more than ten years ago and started calculating the economic impact of those events in 2014. Using the Georgia Department of Tourism Event Calculator, VLPRA estimates the 245 recruited tournaments resulted in a total economic impact of approximately $46.5 million dollars.
In the last eight years, VLPRA brought an estimated 91,000 visitors to town, resulting in more than 54,000 hotel room nights. In 2021 alone, VLPRA hosted 30 tournaments producing more than $7 million in economic impact.
Most of the tournaments have been baseball, softball, and tennis events. However, VLPRA has recently expanded into cross country, football, and more. Soccer will be the next large addition when the eight-field North Lowndes Soccer Complex opens later this year. Pickleball is also on the horizon as the Authority plans to add 12 courts at McKey Park.
“We are in a unique position to serve local taxpayers in several ways,” VLPRA Executive Director George Page says. “The Authority has first-class facilities for local residents to use in leagues and open play. We utilize those same facilities to bring in tournaments and tourism dollars to local businesses. Those revenues support jobs, restaurants, hotels, and retailers and also help fund infrastructure improvements.”
Now VLPRA is expanding to create a new sports recruitment branch: “Compete Valdosta-Lowndes”. The CVL brand will operate under VLPRA and be the identity the Authority uses to bring tournaments to town. CVL’s new website, competevaldostalowndes.com, is under construction and will be online early this summer.