SNOW HILL — Worcester County will join Wicomico County and Ocean City in partnering in the Mid Atlantic Amateur Sports Alliance (MAASA), which is expected to promote amateur sports in the area and hopes to attract more premier tournaments similar to the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) Softball World Series.
Through its partnership in the association, Worcester hopes to “attract, retain and build sports events, with a focus on amateur athletics to grow the region’s economy and reputation as a premiere destination,” according to Paige Hurley, Worcester’s director of Recreation and Parks. Worcester, Wicomico and Ocean City will each be contributing $10,000 to the effort which will be used as initial seed money to establish the program.
“This is a one-time cost to help market the effort to groups outside the region,” said Hurley. “It is my understanding that after signing a MoU with Wicomico County and Ocean City, the cost of participation will be based on a sliding scale proportional to the revenues generated in each jurisdiction.”
Sussex, Del. has already indicated that it might like to join the alliance next year, and Hurley is optimistic it could grow in the future. Getting so many jurisdictions to partner together for an umbrella sports alliance is something unique that Hurley believes is historic. To the best of his knowledge, even nationally, nothing like this has been done before and the potential is strong.
The commissioners agreed, citing the success the region has experienced through the USSSA Fast Pitch Softball Eastern World Series. That tournament has visited Wicomico for the past several years and recently began scheduling events in Ocean City. It’s been a welcome tourism boom in July and encompasses several weekdays, which can be a slower period for hotels. But the tournament keeps rooms packed and businesses rolling.
“I was overwhelmed when I went down there,” said Commissioner President Bud Church. “And what was really interesting was that a lot of them stayed in Ocean City and filled those hotel rooms that generally lack a little bit.”
As more areas join the alliance and it experiences growth, Church said that he is excited to see what kids of sports and events it can attract and what type of economic uptick will come in the wake of that.
“I think this is one of the best things that we’ve done in a long, long time,” he said.
The commission felt the same and unanimously approved Worcester’s $10,000 portion of the MAASA cost.