TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Several planned sporting events scheduled this month will bring athletes from all over the southeast to Tupelo. The city's facilities will host the largest crowds they’ve seen since the pandemic started.
90 teams are expected to participate at Ballard Park in an upcoming soccer tournament. That’s the most people the field has seen in a while. Sports Director Ben Haas said he’s not only excited about the events but for the economic impact as well.
"We have 160 coming this weekend and next weekend combined. It’s good for the hotels, good for the restaurants, they all struggled during the pandemic," said Haas. "We’re excited, super excited Tupelo gets to host an event of this caliber.”
Tupelo will host some major sporting events this month. The first one is just two days away when the aquatic center hosts 300 swimmers.
Like Haas, Director Amy Kennedy said the massive events will bring more money to the city. She said the upcoming event is the first full-capacity event at the center since the pandemic started.
She added that she’s excited to fill the bleachers with spectators.
“Spectators make a huge difference for the swimmers and for the city of Tupelo," said Kennedy. "Without the spectators, they’re not eating at our restaurants or spending the night at our hotel, so it’s a big difference for everyone.”
Along with soccer and swimming, hundreds of softball players will fill other venues around the city. Haas said organizers planned for months to make these events happen.
“It’s huge, it’s good for the city," said Haas. "It’s good for the citizens of Tupelo to come out and watch these guys compete.”
The massive events stretch from this Thursday the 15th, all the way to the 31st. A big change from last summer when fields remained empty the entire season.