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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2007
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Hoops, Jubilee to fill hotels on holiday
Memorial Day weekend tournament may bring 40 teams to Decatur

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com 340-2395

Basketball has joined the growing list of sports that are drawing hundreds of players and their families to Decatur.

Youth Basketball of Alabama will bring a Memorial Day tournament here with as many as 40 girls teams from across the state.

There will be some local teams, but most are from Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham, so they will need to stay in Decatur hotels, said Tami Reist, president of the Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

$400,000 impact

Each team has 10 to 12 players, she said, so the tournament has the potential to fill 800 room nights over two days and create an economic impact of $400,000.

The basketball event would be the first of its sport to bring a large-scale tournament to Decatur. It would be almost three times larger than the annual Decatur Orthopeadic Clinic Classic held each December.

Other sports-related tournaments drawing out-of-towners to Decatur range from table tennis and soccer to cross country and fishing.

Since the basketball tournament is the same weekend as the Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, which already fills most local hotel rooms, it will definitely put capacity over the top, Reist said.

The visitors bureau has already contacted Madison hotels about sending spillover business their way, she said.

From a hotel standpoint, it's not an ideal time to bring in a large sports tournament, but Reist said the tournament director wanted the Jubilee weekend so the families would have something to do when they didn't have games.

In addition, she said it's a good opportunity to build relationships that can bring more tournaments in the future and at dates more advantageous for local hotels.

The tournament will occur at three sites, Decatur and Austin high schools and Calhoun Community College. Elimination games will be May 25 and 26 with finals May 27.

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