BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Conference USA Baseball Tournament is winding down in Hattiesburg, but excitement is building for next year's tournament at MGM Park in Biloxi.
The Conference USA Baseball Tournament is a proven winner for Hattiesburg, creating millions of dollars for the city. Starting next year, it could be an even bigger winner for the Coast.
"I think that everybody in the tournament, in the front office and with the teams as well, realize that there's so much more to offer in Biloxi and the Gulf Coast area than there is to offer in almost any other city," said Tim Bennett, with Overtime Sports and the Biloxi Shuckers.
That offering, he said, is why he thinks his team can meet the biggest challenge to any tournament: Bring them in early and keep them here longer.
"We love them to come on Wednesday and stay till Sunday," Bennett said. "How much better would it be if they just say, 'Hey, look. It's Memorial Day weekend. We might as well go to Mississippi, get in on a Sunday, catch some golf, catch some shopping, maybe some gaming, maybe some shows they want to see and then roll that right through the week."
Bennett said beyond amenities on the coast, revenue sharing with charitable groups will help raise money and fill seats.
Pre-tournament festivals are also on the discussion table. Bennett said he will use Shuckers fans and Southern League teams as marketing tools to cross promote the tournament.
Spencer Battles, box office manager for Overtime Sports, said the tournament isn't just for the baseball teams and their families.
"It's all of that," Battles said. "It's all the family members. It's the older crowd. Seniors. I mean, this is for everybody. Everybody's going to benefit from this. It's a great and wonderful opportunity."
Overtime Sports at MGM Park has a three-year contract for the tournament with hopes of a five-year extension.
The tournament next year will be May 24 through May 28.