OCEAN CITY — The Eastern World Series softball tournament will return next summer to the Lower Shore as part of the continued partnership between the Town of Ocean City and Worcester and Wicomico counties.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) announced last week the Eastern World Series will return to the Lower Shore in 2016, marking the 10th straight year the area has hosted the major event. The three-legged series will run from July 13-30 next summer, again being billed under the Mid-Atlantic Amateur Sports Alliance (MAASA), a groundbreaking and award-winning formal sports marketing partnership Ocean City, Wicomico and Worcester Counties.
“We are pleased to welcome back the USSSA Eastern World Series,” said Ocean City Mayor and Acting City Manager Rick Meehan. “We take pride in hosting these amazing athletes, their coaches and their families.”
With over 350 teams anticipated, the area will see an influx of roughly 13,000 visitors over the three-week series including players, coaches, families and fans. While Wicomico hosts most of the games at its various athletic facilities, Worcester and Ocean City provide easy access and accommodations just a short distance away, which makes the MAASA partnership work.
“The requirements of events like the World Series are much greater than any of us can handle on our own,” said Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver. “By working together, we’re able to meet the needs of large-scale sports marketing promoters and see that our region continues to benefit from hosting them.”
The tournament means a big economic boost for all of the jurisdictions that partner with MAASA.
“With teams visiting from all over the country, the USSSA World Series has a huge economic impact on our area with players and parents eating at our restaurants, using our gas stations, shopping at our stores and staying in our hotels,” said Worcester County Recreation and Parks Director Paige Hurley. “The 2015 event spanned three weeks, generating an estimated economic impact of just under $20 million and hotel room-night demand of 12,000.”
For the USSSA, the partnership between neighboring jurisdictions has facilitated the return of the Eastern World Series in each of the last three years.
“The efforts put forth in the past from the staff along with the support we’ve received from local businesses, particularly the hotels and restaurants, and civic leaders, made the decision to keep this three-week event in the area an easy one,” said USSSA Vice President Bill Dowell.
Formed in 2014, MAASA is the first partnership of its kind in the nation. It leverages the combined assets of each jurisdiction in order to attract, retain and build sports marketing events. Although still new on the sports marketing scene, MAASA is already making waves on the national level.
The leading publication for sports event planners and tourism directors, Sports Destination Management, recently named MAASA a 2015 Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism for its work with the USSSA. The Alliance also took home a 2015 Tourism Partnership Award during Maryland’s 35th Annual Tourism and Travel Summit.