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Sports tournaments bring visitors to B/CS as COVID-19 slows economy again

Published: Jun. 27, 2020 at 5:43 PM CDT
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College Station, Texas (KBTX) - Bryan/College Station is getting a little bit of an economic boost this weekend.

As the state slows down reopening due to COVID-19 several sports tourism events are happening in the community. On Friday Governor Greg Abbott announced plans to slow down the reopening of the economy after coronavirus cases have increased.

Thousands of people are coming to Veterans Park this weekend for several events including the Budweiser Spring Softball Tournament. Hundreds of teams are participating. The Primetime 7-on-7 Tournament of Champions is also taking place Saturday and Sunday.

In this era of COVID-19, organizers are asking people to take extra precautions. They’re using temperature checks for athletes and are encouraging people to wear face masks when possible. Softball players we talked to Saturday said they feel safe being at the tournament.

”It’s been tough, you know? We don’t get out as much, we don’t get to go outside, and this is really one of his first times being outside. He’s six months old so it’s been tough but we’re adapting as well as we can,” said Baylie Brown of Boyd, Tex. She is playing in the softball tournament and also had her new baby with her.

“Well, we love what it’s doing for our small business, for our hotels, you know, for our grocery stores, things like that. They need it at this time and anything we can do to help that Restart Program, we’re going to do it and try to make it the best for them and hopefully keep some of those doors open,” said Dominique Powell, Experience Bryan/College Station Sports Director.

Changes with the 7-on-7 event also include no bench seating to encourage the players from not congregating together. They also don’t have misting fans to encourage spacing out.

“In order to keep some of the social distancing protocols some of the things that we are not doing that we would normally do is like team benches and player tents, misting fans things like that. So we’ve encouraged them to be on the sideline but they can maintain that six feet. We’re encouraging teams to stay within household six feet with each other instead of congregating as a team underneath one tent,” said Gene Ballew, College Station Parks and Recreation Athletics and Tourism Manager.

”I think we’re doing the right thing. Get them out here social distancing in a way. There’s no contact in 7-on-7 except touching. And I think you know with these kids if we do it the right way, we’re still not letting a virus keep us inside and cut off our world,” said Jim Knox an assistant coach and parent with the Westlake Chaps 7-on-7 team.

Experience BCS tells us Budweiser has hosted these softball tournaments for 35 years. This is the 16th year for the 7-on-7 Tournament.

Experience BCS said Friday the economic impact from the events could be more than $1 million, but they are still learning how COVID-19 is affecting people’s spending patterns.

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