Southaven and DeSoto County will welcome nearly 10,000 visitors this weekend who will be in town for the Dizzy Dean World Series.
The baseball tournament will be played on 17 newly renovated state-of-the art fields with artificial turf at Snowden Grove Baseball Park and is expected to host over 160 teams from all across the south - nearly double the amount from last year’s total.
Visit DeSoto County MS Tourism Director Kim Terrell said the Dizzy Dean Tournament is one of the county’s premiere tourism events that always fills hotel rooms and restaurants.
“I love seeing this tournament come to town every year,” Terrell said. “It’s a great way to bring people to DeSoto County and significantly benefits the local economy.”
Terrell said each team has 11 players and brings about four family members each with them.
“It’s about 45 people per team,” Terrell said.
Many restaurants and businesses like Chick-fil-A, McAlister’s Deli, and Marco’s Pizza offer special coupons or gift cards and discounts to the visiting teams.
“I know that our restaurants and hotels look forward to baseball and softball teams brought in by the Dizzy Dean World Series that patronize their establishments year after year and are grateful for the relationships and commerce created as a result,” said Southaven Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debbie King.
Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite said the Dizzy Dean World Series results in about $2 million being spent in the local economy and that ball tournaments in general generate about $1.5 million in direct revenue to the city and pours about $15 million into the economy.
“The overall economic impact with jobs and new business growth equates to about $35 million,” Musselwhite said.
Southaven spent $5.6 million to convert the fields to artificial turf and signed a 10 year extension to host the Dizzy Dean World Series in 2014.
Terrell said Southaven isn’t the only city that benefits from Dizzy Dean. Hotels, restaurants and shops throughout DeSoto County also see a boost in business from the tournament.
“There aren’t enough rooms in any one city to house everybody,” Terrell said. “So every city gets some of the love. We have hotels across the county that are full and restaurants across the county that are full.”
Tourism boosters also encourage families to shop locally and to explore places like the DeSoto County Museum and historic county courthouse while they are visiting.
“We make sure they know our website when they come here,” Terrell said. “This is just a great introduction for them to come back.”
And with high gas prices and rising inflation pinching people’s wallets, Terrell said many of the visitors will spend an extra day or two in DeSoto County and make it a vacation.
“We saw that in 2008 with the recession where people tagged on an extra day or two,” Terrell said. “That may be what will happen this year too with the gas prices being what they are.”
Opening ceremonies will be held today at Snowden Grove Park on Field 13 today at 7 p.m. World Series play behind at 9 a.m. on July 9 and concludes July 14.