Information provided by Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau
Baton Rouge, La. – The board of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) awarded the LHSAA State Championship Swim Meet and The Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA Softball State Championships to the Southwest Louisiana area for two additional years. SPAR and Sulphur High School joint bid the events and were uncontested.
Historically, the area has hosted swim for 12 years and softball for 18.
Eric Zartler, sales director of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau (LC/SWLA CVB) and Steve Gayfield, executive director of Sulphur Parks & Recreation, represented Southwest Louisiana during the bidding process held earlier today.
"The LHSAA tournaments that have been awarded to the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana area are tremendous testimonies to the hospitality community, leadership and facilities in Southwest Louisiana as well as the genuine relationships that have been built over the years through hosting successful tournaments. We are fortunate to have a thriving fanbase in Southwest Louisiana with people who love to volunteer and cheer on the teams. We could not do what we do without everyone working together," said Eric Zartler, sales director for the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau (LC/SWLA CVB).
Southwest Louisiana is known as the Youth Sports Capital of Louisiana, and as such, the area has benefited greatly from youth sports being an economic driver from softball, baseball and basketball to swimming and a myriad of other tournaments.
The LHSAA had three tournaments earlier this year. LHSAA Marsh Madness Boys' Basketball State Championship tournament was held in March at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. The attendance was in excess of 36,000 with an economic impact of $2,020,000 using 1,575 hotel rooms in Calcasieu Parish.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA Softball State Championships was held in Sulphur at Frasch Park this past April. This three-day event featured the top high school softball teams in seven classes and five divisions from all over Louisiana vying for championship titles. The attendance was 23,442 with an economic impact of $2,084,100 using 2,616 hotel rooms in Calcasieu Parish.
In May, Sulphur also hosted the Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA Baseball State Championships. This four-day event featured the top high school baseball teams from all seven classes and five divisions competing for state championship titles. The attendance was 24,382 with an economic impact of $1,714,100 using 1,830 hotel rooms in Calcasieu Parish.
"The total economic impact for these three tournaments alone was $5,818,200. We host multiple events throughout the year with LHSAA as well as USSSA and other national organizations. For these tournaments, we work with our partners at the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, SPAR, Ward 3 Recreation, and the municipalities. The 2018 LHSAA state baseball tournament hosted in Sulphur by the Lake Charles/SWLA CVB set a new attendance record for the event in its current format. Everyone in the hospitality industry pulls together to make hosting these tournaments a success," said Zartler.