Out-of-town baseball players expected to boost local economy this summer

Nearly 14,000 youth and amateur baseball players are expected to descend on Palm Beach County this summer, pumping roughly $10 million into the local economy as they play in more than a dozen tournaments set to be held here, according to the county’s sports commission.

Final construction preparations are made before Tuesday’s opening game at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 27, 2017. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

More than 2,000 baseball games are set to be played on fields across the county, including those at the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, and the Santaluces Athletic Complex in Lantana, George Linley, the commission’s executive director, told members of the county’s Tourist Development Council this week.

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In all, 16 amateur baseball tournaments will be held in the county over the summer. The events include state, regional and national tournaments, he said.

Roughly 800 teams with more than 13,700 athletes will play in the tournaments, which run from May to September.

Fans watch during the opening Spring Training game for the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach on February 28, 2017. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

“Due to the outstanding baseball facilities, the tropical climate and a strong resume of prestigious baseball events, Palm Beach County has a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and hosting baseball tournaments and showcases,” Linley wrote in a letter to the county’s tourism board. “The summer of 2017 will bring excitement due to the world of amateur baseball, both on the field of play and off the field for the local economy.”

Summer sporting events, particularly those for children, teenagers and college students, serve as a buoy for local hotels, boosting occupancy rates just as the busy winter tourism season comes to a close, tourism leaders say.

Linley said the summer baseball events are expected to result in 22,893 nightly bookings at local hotels.