ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Scores of girls softball teams, their fans and families are spending this week at local parks for the 2019 Triple Crown USA Nationals.
The annual event has drawn close 190 teams from around the country this week to fields at eight parks in Forsyth County and Alpharetta, bringing thousands of players and their families, 154 umpires and 40 Triple Crown staff.
The four-day event fills up hotel rooms, restaurants, shops and gas stations. It also contributes to local tax revenues in the way of hotel fees and sales taxes.
The tournament features the top nationally ranked girls 14U, 16U and 18U club travel teams from throughout the country to compete for a national title.
This week’s event marks the third time Alpharetta and Forsyth County have hosted the nationals, and the first time the event has returned to the same location in consecutive years.
Krista Crawford, fastpitch event organizer with Triple Crown Sports, said there is a “long list” of reasons why the organization chose to keep the tournament in North Fulton and Forsyth County.
“The relationships we have with the [convention and visitors bureaus] are amazing,” Crawford said. “It is also a desirable location that is easy to get to from across the country. The teams also really enjoy the unique, small atmosphere and the quality of the fields.”
Another factor is the proximity of the 48 fields hosting games.
“Getting from one field to the next takes no more than 25 minutes,” Crawford said. “You can’t find any other place like that in the nation. It’s great for the teams, and it’s also good for college coaches scouting players.”
The Forsyth business community is all in for the tournament, said Michelle Daniels, director of tourism at the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.
“We work weeks prior to the tournament to ensure the local restaurants, shopping retailers and local businesses are aware the tournament is coming to town,” Daniels said. “This allows business owners time to prepare staff for the increase of visitors.”
The chamber also provides visitor information, welcome bags and additional information during tournament week, featuring places to explore, restaurants to enjoy and nearby shopping.
Daniels said that while the tournament goes back to the West Coast for the next few years, the chamber is already talking with the event organizers to bring the event back in 2022. Even so, the area will continue to host the Southeast Regional event through 2021.
The event is no less welcome in Alpharetta, where this week’s tournament is expected to pump nearly $2 million into the local economy.
“Having the Triple Crown USA Nationals here means great exposure for Alpharetta, especially to those who are not familiar with what’s here,” said Alpharetta Economic Development Manager Matthew Thomas. “We can expect our visitors to eat, shop, and support a variety of businesses, which in turn strengthens local enterprise. Those dollars may then be recirculated in our community several times over.”
The city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates at least 2,000 room nights have been booked at the city’s 26 hotels.
“Our hotel industry helps fuel the other businesses in the city,” said CVB President Janet Rodgers. “Tournament players and their families will be staying multiple nights in Alpharetta hotels and will also enjoy our shops, restaurants and entertainment venues which help perpetuate the success of those businesses. The tournament will have city-wide impact the entire week they are playing and staying in Alpharetta.”