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City plays ball for tourism dollars

Posted: May 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.
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Hotel occupancy was up last weekend, due to a softball tournament played in Santa Clarita, according to a city official. The Triple Crown Softball tournament came to town, said Jason Crawford, Santa Clarita marketing and economic development manager. Tournament players booked up to 150 hotel rooms, he said.

As part of the ongoing efforts of the city’s Economic Development Office to drive tourism to the area, the city partnered with the Castaic Sports Complex to expand the number of available venues and pitched the event organizer Triple Crown to hold a second tournament in town.

Triple Crown wanted to do a bigger event than the city had fields for, said Russell Sypowicz, economic development analyst and coordinator of the tourism event for the city of Santa Clarita.

“We approached Castaic Sports Complex to develop a partnership where we would be able to utilize their facilities to handle the overflow,” Sypowicz said. “We used four fields at Central Park, three at Castaic and other single parks throughout the city.”

Making the necessary number of fields available allowed the city to attract a second tournament.

“They have typically always done a tournament the first weekend in November, but we pitched the idea of doing a second tournament,” Sypowicz said.

The city also streamlined the process of booking hotel rooms for the tournament players, creating less work for the event producer and making the city a more attractive venue for the “travel ball” softball   league.

“The city made reservations on their behalf,” Sypowicz said. “They were thrilled with the result.”

The softball tournament hosts 12- to 14-year-old players, meaning a number of adults accompany the players, as well. All need to sleep at local hotels and to eat at local venues, adding tourism dollars directly into the local economy. The city also pitched Magic Mountain as an attraction, Sypowicz said.

“The tournament went very well, and the teams enjoyed themselves,” said Travis Cotsenmoyer, event director for Triple Crown Sports. “We had a great turnout and look forward to working with the city of Santa Clarita to continue to host events that impact the local economy.”

Booking between 85 and 100 local hotel rooms would be deemed a successful event, Sypowicz said. By midday Wednesday, the city had not yet heard back from all of the area hotels.

But of the hotels the city did hear from, 85 rooms had been confirmed as being booked, he said.

“Courtyard by Marriott and Holiday Express got some good room nights,” Sypowicz said. “I believe the Hyatt had a big event, and may have already been at capacity.”

And, the city is gearing up to do it all over again when it hosts a volleyball tournament in August, he said. 

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