Florence/Lauderdale Tourism success story – AHSAA Softball Tournament

By  | June 11, 2019 | Filed under: News


Rob Carnegie, Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Director


This was the headline for the first super-successful “Sports Tourism” foray into major High School sports events in Lauderdale County. Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Director, Rob Carnegie and the Board of Directors worked diligently to make the event successful, and – despite a rainy few days – the results were quite impressive. For years, Northwest Alabama has been home to major sport fishing events. And building on these great successes, the Tourism Board wanted to expand into team spots at the recently completed, state-of-the-art sports complex.

Here is what Carnegie had to say about the Softball Tournament:

“On May 9-11, 2019, the Florence-Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the City of Florence hosted the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Regional Softball Tournament at the Florence Sportsplex.

Travel related expenditures generated from the tournament brought a conservatively estimated $600,000 economic impact into the Florence and the Shoals communities.

As part of a two-year contract with the AHSAA, the Florence-Lauderdale CVB and the City of Florence have partnered in hosting this event as a means of not only promoting more visitor spending in the community, but also assist with building the city event resume and showcasing the City of Florence and the Sportsplex as an elite sports destination.

“This partnership demonstrates what can be accomplished when groups within the Shoals work together for the good of our economy and our residents,” said Rob Carnegie, President & CEO of Florence-Lauderdale CVB. “We are looking forward to various other collaborations which allow us to make Florence and the Shoals a better place to visit.”

With 52 teams from areas including Fort Payne, Cullman, Huntsville, and Collinsville, the North Regional tournament presented 1A through 7A schools competing for their place in the State Finals.

Florence Mayor Steve Holt

Mayor Steve Holt said, “Congratulations to all involved in the AL Softball Regional Tournament for a highly successful event. We are honored to have been chosen by the AHSAA to host this event and blessed to have the means to do so in the City of Florence. What an opportunity this tournament provides us to share our incredible city with visitors from all over the region! I am extremely proud of our sports facilities and staff.”  In May alone, the Florence-Lauderdale CVB hosted the Alabama Bass Trail Tournament, the Big Bass Bash Tournament, and the Boat U.S. Collegiate Bass Tournament.

Todd Nix, Community Services Director, said, “The Regional Tournament was a great addition for our community. The partnership and communication between Tourism and Parks & Recreation proved beneficial to many.”

The economic impact analysis is done on several service sectors within the county including lodging, food & beverage, fuel, shopping, and other miscellaneous expenditures. Additionally, a question regarding the overall impression of the community is included on all surveys.”

For more information, please contact the Florence-Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at 256-740-4141

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