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Tourneys a boon to city coffers

Tourneys a boon to city coffers

A March California State University, Stanislaus tournament, the Ninth Annual Tournament of Champions, brought in 22 teams for a three-day tournament at Pedretti Park and the university's Warrior So...


POSTED April 20, 2010 11:18 p.m.
The crack of the bat, the thud of the ball hitting the mitt, and the crunching of Cracker Jacks in the stands all sound like money to the City of Turlock, where baseball tournaments have become a summer staple.
This year Turlock will host more tournaments than ever before, with a whopping 45 Pedretti Park sporting events scheduled this season. Only a year ago, Pedretti Park hosted just 33 tournaments.
That drastic increase can be directly attributed to an extended tournament season this year, according to Senior Recreation Supervisor Mark Crivelli.
“We have opened up our weekends that we are doing tournaments,” Crivelli said. “We now are doing tournaments through the end of November where we used to stop doing tournaments at the beginning of November just because of weather.”
While the first weekend in November traditionally marked the end of tournament season, this year baseball and softball will overrun Pedretti Park from the first weekend in February to the last weekend in November.
The facility is near perfect for accommodating tournaments of any size, with one youth baseball/softball field, three adult softball fields, and one full-size baseball field. Two additional city-owned softball fields — which can be set up for youth or adult usage — are just a few miles away at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex, which will host two tournaments of its own in addition to overflow matches from Pedretti events.
“That’s a great resource for us if we can’t accommodate them all at the Pedretti complex,” said Allison Van Guilder, interim Recreation Division manager.
Each tournament generates between $400 and $1,500, just in fees for the City of Turlock. That moneymaking nature of the tournaments — as well as increased demand — is what inspired the cash-strapped city to rework maintenance schedules to be able to extend the tournament season, according to City Recreation Superintendent Juliene Flanders.
When factoring in the tax dollars traveling teams bring to Turlock, the financial impact tournaments have on the City of Turlock is even greater.
“We’re real excited about the impact they have on the (transient occupancy tax) and sales tax,” Van Guilder said.
While it’s difficult to quantify exactly how many tax dollars tournaments generate, according to Van Guilder, recent tournaments have packed local hotels.
A March California State University, Stanislaus tournament, the Ninth Annual Tournament of Champions, brought in 22 teams for a three-day tournament at Pedretti Park and the university’s Warrior Softball Field. That translates into more than 1,000 out-of-town guests, according to the university, and 241 room nights at the Fairfield Inn and Holiday Inn, according to the city.
“And that was just those two hotels,” Crivelli said.
Scheduling tournaments requires much work from Crivelli, who deals with everything from park maintenance to the on-site concessionaire. He even works directly with hoteliers to secure rooms for tournaments, and restaurants to ensure there’s enough ice cream to feed hungry players after games.
With the booming baseball business, the City of Turlock is now turning its attention to the beautiful game — soccer.
Since the 2002 opening of the Turlock Regional Sports Complex, the city has owned nine full-size soccer fields, which can be converted to 13 youth fields. While soccer tournaments have held relatively steady over the past three years, at seven or eight tourneys per year, Turlock has just recently begun to attract a few high profile competitions.
In 2008, the California Youth Soccer Association operated the majority of Turlock soccer tournaments, but Turlock lost that contract in 2009. Since then, the city has picked up tournaments from US Club Soccer, including a June tourney expected to draw as many as 100 teams.
“We’re growing a little bit back in soccer,” Crivelli said. “That’s our focus; to try to get those built up again.”
For more information on reserving sports fields, visit http://www.turlock.ca.us/citydepartments/municipalservices/recreation/facilityreservations/sportsfields.asp or call 668-5594.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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