Soccer tournament should bring major economic benefit to Baton Rouge region
BATON ROUGE - Tourism and parks officials in Baton Rouge say a major soccer tournament being held in the city over the next week will provide economic benefit to the entire region.
Nearly 250 teams are expected for this year's Southern Regionals. Winners decided next Wednesday will move on to Nationals in Orlando, Florida, next month.
"The is a huge build for the local businesses, the restaurants, the city of Baton Rouge, the greater Baton Rouge area, and I expect the economic impact to be over $20 million," said Louie Smotherman, the executive director of the Baton Rouge Soccer Club, which is helping host the games.
BREC, the city-parish's park system, partnered with BRSC, OLOL and others to add three soccer fields to the Burbank Soccer Park in the southern end of the parish — and save taxpayers a little money on the $1.5 million construction cost.
"We were able to do that because Baton Rouge Soccer, along with Our Lady of the Lake, contributed $1 million toward that 1.5 million, so only 500,000 taxpayer dollars (were spent), but as a result taxpayers are able to get three new fields valued at 1.5 million dollars," BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson said.
Baton Rouge is hosting the Southern Regionals for a fourth time. Hotels should run about 80 percent occupancy.
"May the weather be favorable, the food as good as always and the soccer and the overall experience to be exciting fantastic and memorable," Smotherman said.
Rowdy Gaudet, a member of the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council, said the region is well-prepared to receive visitors from 11 states from Texas to the Carolinas.
"This is what we do in south Louisiana. We're having company over. we're getting the house ready and we're getting the table set, and we are ready to host these folks," Gaudet said.
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