HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Ledges is hosting a stop in the Korn Ferry Tour where some athletes will eventually head to the PGA tour. Korn Ferry is just one of a growing list of top high school, college and professional competitions choosing to bring their events in Huntsville.
The Huntsville Sports Commission chases and puts together bids for varying levels of sports competitions because they believe the region has the facilities to pull them off. And so far the sports world agrees.
“We have all these different people coming from across the nation. Staying in our hotels, they go out to dinner with their families. They go shopping,” said Brooke Izzo, the Marketing and Communications Director for the Sports Commission.
Izzo says even in the face of the pandemic, athletic events in the Rocket City still stimulated the economy.
“Our economic impact was 3.7 million and above last year with those events canceled. Just different ones that we were still able to do with different protocols, procedures, precautions.” said Izzo.
2021 hasn’t been slow either. Of the 20 or so expected events, Huntsville has already seen the SEC gymnastics championship which brought six of the top NCAA teams to town. Some of the best beach volleyball teams were competing at John Hunt Park recently.
“Some of the next Olympic athletes could be playing right here. This is also a great inspiration, not just to be an Olympian but for potentially going to college,” said Colleen Craig, of Rally Volleyball.
The streets of the Cummings Research Park recently had Paralympic competitors zipping around attempting to qualify to represent the U.S. in the Olympics as well. And over at The Ledges, some of the top young and experienced golfers are vying for slots to compete in the PGA Tour. The Korn Ferry International Tour stops at 23 locations.
“For Huntsville to be in that company speaks volumes about the city’s support. The Ledges support and wanting to hosting this thing. We are seeing it first hand,” said Penn Garvich, the tournament director.
The Huntsville Sports Commission says southern hospitality combined with well-kept facilities are making impressions with athletes.
“Young people from all over the United States, they will be able to go back and say wow Huntsville has something nobody else has,” said Mayor Tommy Battle.
Korn Ferry brings more than 150 golfers to Huntsville. The upcoming state soccer tournament will bring 24 teams along with their families. The sports commission says those families stay in hotels, buy food and shop while in the Rocket City.