Over 5,000 softball players will visit Delmarva this July as the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) World Series returns to Maryland’s eastern shore. The three-legged series, which began on July 17, runs through Aug. 3, bringing over 400 girls softball teams to the region ranging in age from 10 to 18. Preliminary estimates suggest the World Series will generate an $8+ million dollar economic impact.
Wicomico County has hosted USSSA events for the last six years, but this year’s World Series surpasses all others in size and scope. The tournament has added an additional week and seen a spike in participation by 38% with a total of 402 teams currently registered. Although Wicomico County serves as the tournament’s host, its growth has necessitated an expansion beyond County borders to both fields and overnight accommodations in Ocean City and Worcester County. Realizing the economic benefits of the World Series, the town, in an unprecedented move, has partnered with Wicomico to assist in footing the $450,000 bill for this year’s tournament. Area businesses, also realizing the greatness of the tournament’s impact have come on board as sponsors of the event including Pohanka Automotive Group and Pepsi Bottling Ventures.
Despite the hefty price tag, the $8+ million economic impact generated for the community far out ways the cost. The tournament brings a demand of 16,000 room nights to the Eastern Shore. Over half of these rooms have been booked through Wicomico County’s online booking system. Based on the system inventory, hotels in Wicomico County are just about full, and at least 1/8 of bookings have spilled over into the Ocean City area. In addition to filling hotels, area businesses including restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, etc. see an uptick in foot traffic brought about by the tournament.
Remaining Tournament Dates:
July 24-28: Tournament play for 14U ‘A’ / 14U ‘B’ / 16U-18U ‘C’*
July 29-Aug. 3: Tournament play for 16U ‘A’ / 16U ‘B’ / 18U ‘Open’ *
*’U’ abbreviation for Under.
The Henry S. Parker Athletic Complex in Salisbury, Md. provides the main fields of play for the series. Other fields tentatively scheduled for use in Wicomico County include the East Wicomico Little League (Salisbury), Eastside Youth Sports Complex (Willards), Fruitland Recreational Area (Fruitland) and Mason-Dixon Sports Complex (Delmar). Facilities in Worcester County that may be used include the John Walter Smith Park (Snow Hill), North Worcester Athletic Complex (Berlin), Showell Recreation Complex (Showell) and Stephen Decatur High School / Middle School (Berlin).
Tournament games are open to the public with no admission fee charged. For additional information on the USSSA World Series, please visit www.SalisburyChampionships.org. In accordance with USSSA National guidelines, schedules are not released until the start of the tournament. As they become available, information will be posted to the web site.