Softball tournament leaves big economic impact in Dothan

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Some have traveled from as far away as Utah for a softball tournament in Dothan. 18 softball teams from across the country in the National Junior College Athletic Association are competing right here in our back yard.

"We’re getting the name of Dothan out there, for sure,” said Robert Hillman, Director of Sales for Visit Dothan. He says this tournament has a huge economic impact on the city.

"Dothan is growing in a big way, especially in the neighborhood of the sports market. This is a big year for us in sports. We’ve grown more and more every year, but we're expecting a big future for us in the coming years."

It’s the first tournament at James Oates Park Softball Complex, and the Junior College Tournament will be hosted here for the next five years. The direct impact is a quarter of a million dollars and the indirect impact is more than $600,000.

Hotels in the area are reaping the benefits.

"We wound up selling out. We had no hotels left. That is unheard of on a Thursday,” said Randy Brown, General Manager of Country Inn and Suites in Dothan.

Brown says the business has made five times more this weekend than what they'd usually make on average, just because the tournament.

It's a "win-win" for the teams playing and experiencing what Dothan has to offer.

"This is one of the nicer ones in the southeast,” said associate head coach at Chipola College, Jimmy Hendrix. “It's got six fields and they're all softball fields. Some complex's you go to, there are 300 foot fences and you have to use a temporary fence. Well, these are permanent ones set up for softball."