BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) – An annual soccer tournament is attracting thousands of people to the Miami Valley, generating big bucks for local businesses.
Old River Soccer Complex in Dayton was packed with soccer players and fans from all over the country Saturday. More than 600 teams come to compete for the weekend and while they are here local restaurants and hotels see a major spike in business, which many have come to depend on.
The fields at Old River Soccer Complex were full with players and fans Saturday, competing in the nation’s largest 2-day soccer tournament.
“Some of the greatest teams,” Tournament Spokesperson Mike Howard said. “In the United States, ranking-wise are right here in Ohio.”
For the last seven years, the tournament has grown in size, bringing millions of dollars to the local economy every year. This year, tourism officials are predicting a $5 million economic impact. Restaurants, like T.J. Chumps have been prepping all week for the tournament.
“We prepare,” T.J. Chumps Manager Jared Harris said. “We staff well. We do have extra people on to help support and make sure everything is good.”
This weekend alone increases sales by as much 25 to 60 percent. Over the years the tournament has grown larger and Harris has had to adapt, changing the layout of the restaurant to better suit large parties.
“We have two banquet rooms so if we have enough staff we put people in there,” Harris said. “Or we have plenty of extra tables and chairs so we can set it up as soon as they walk in. And the way our team is built we help each other out with sections so it’s really easy to take care of a large number of people.”
Restaurants aren’t the only seeing big business. According to the Greene County Visitor Bureau, more than 2,000 nights are booked with local hotels. Traveling teams is something they are seeing more of according to tournament spokesperson Mike Howard.
“I’ve had youth teams as I was coaching soccer and we traveled to Canada,” Howard said. “I even took a team to europe and played so when you are really into it traveling from St. Louis to here isn’t that big of deal.”