Governor’s Challenge Economic Impact Reported

SALISBURY- Along with plenty of talent, the Governor’s Challenge high school holiday basketball tournament in late December brought an estimated $1.2 million in economic impact to Wicomico County, according to a report released this week.

The Governor’s Challenge, sponsored by The Bank of Delmarva, brought 100 teams together in competition this holiday season at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center and area high schools. For the third year, Wicomico County Tourism partnered with DMVelite for the event, which took place from Dec. 27-30.

Teams traveled from eight states for the Governor’s Challenge including Maryland, Delaware, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Virginia. Washington, D.C., and Europe were also represented. As a result, more than 800 total room nights were booked at Wicomico County hotels. Most Lower Shore teams competed in the annual holiday tournament including Stephen Decatur’s boys’ and girls’ varsity teams and Worcester Prep’s boys’ varsity team. The Bayside Conference was well represented, as were most of the schools in Sussex County.

High school boys and girls and post-graduate athletes all took part in the Governor’s Challenge, and some of the region’s best basketball players were on the courts for the County’s 36th year hosting a holiday basketball tournament.

“Over 300 players who have played at the Governor’s Challenge in the last five years have moved on to play at the collegiate level,” said Wicomico County Assistant Tourism Manager James Simmons, who organizes the Governor’s Challenge.

As the second-largest holiday high school basketball tournament in the nation and largest on the east coast, the Governor’s Challenge has garnered recognition on a national level. Simmons said expects the Governor’s Challenge to continue its growth in 2017.

“The plan is to become the largest holiday high school basketball tournament in the country with 124 teams,” Simmons said.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.