MONDAY, JAN 21, 2013
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There's a cheerleading and dance competition in Charlotte this weekend. It's part of the youth and amateur sports market that cites are competing to win.
Organizers say The Spirit of Hope Cheerleading and Dance National Championship at the Charlotte Convention Center is attracting people from "15 states - as far north as Pennsylvania, all the way down to Florida and over to Tennessee."
Adam Thomas, President of Universal Spirit, says "252 teams, 6,000 athletes, 18,000 attendees will be attending throughout the weekend."
Experts say cities are targeting the youth/amateur sports market as a 'get' because the competitions and events fill what used to be significant vacant time periods in the hospitality industry.
"Like summer, weekends," says Mike Butts, Executive Director of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. "Those are times hotels are typically slow or restaurants are slow. That's great business in these periods that maybe corporate meeting don't happen."
Officials say youth competitions have become like "family vacations, family events so they travel in groups." The CRVA says youth sports market has "grown in Charlotte really dramatically." According to Butts, amateur sports accounted for 53% of hotel bookings in the Charlotte region from July 2011 to June 2012. READ MORE