As we near the end of 2013, NBC Right Now is taking a closer look at one of Yakima's goals for this year - to become a hub for sports tourism.
YAKIMA, WA - As we near the end of 2013, NBC Right Now is taking a closer look at one
of Yakima's goals for this year - to become a hub for sports tourism.
In between Christmas Day and the New Year, Yakima is hosting yet another sports tournament. Wilbur-Ellis Sundome Shootout is taking over the Yakima Valley Sundome, bringing in teams from all over the state.
"Centrally located helps out a lot," said Ray Mata, the Sundome Events Manager. "That way teams don't have to go from one side to the other."
"I think Yakima's a great place because it's pretty good weather most of the year," said Sam Glazier. "I mean we don't get a bunch of rain, and it's a lot of just good facilities. I mean they're not great obviously. They're starting to get worn down a little bit, but they do a pretty good job of bringing in a lot of people from all over."
In fact, the numbers do show Yakima is bringing in more and more people every year for different sporting events. According to the Parks and Recreation Department, the 2013 Annual Hot Shots 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament boasted the largest number of team entries in the event's history. Nearly 2,000 players filled the downtown.
"When they come from all over the state, they stay in hotel rooms so that's a lot of rooms that they rent," said Mata.
The new Gateway and Kiwanis Sports facilities hosted 27 tournaments this year, which accommodated 500 youth baseball teams and nearly 200 adult teams. Not only were three new baseball fields constructed, but also a concession stand and restroom facilities. The Parks and Recreation Department said projected revenue for the concession stand exceeded by over $10,000.
The Parks and Recreation Manager said adult volleyball leagues grew to 70 teams this year and the department maintained the co-ed soccer league.
People like Sam Glazier said if Yakima can improve its image, there's no stopping the city from becoming an even bigger sports destination.
"Whenever I talk to people from Washington, they'll be like oh yeah I played soccer there, but we didn't really go anywhere just because it has a reputation of being kind of dangerous in some areas," said Glazier. "So I think if we get some of that stuff cleaned up and start to make places where all the facilities are a little bit more safe, then I think more and more people will start to come."