When the Cleveland Indians moved spring-training operations to Arizona, many in Winter Have predicted economic doom. Instead, college tourneys have more than filled the gap.
When the Cleveland Indians moved spring-training operations to Arizona, many in Winter Have predicted economic doom. Instead, college tourneys have more than filled the gap, as literally hundreds of college teams have played in various tourneys in the area.
The first-annual RussMart Invitational brought 185 college teams to the area, with games played at Auburndale's Lake Myrtle Sports Complex, Winter Haven's Chain of Lakes Park and fields in Lakeland and Lake Wales. Multiple the 185 teams by the number of players on a traveling squad, add in plenty of family members and fans, and you have a lot of people descending on the area.
And potentially more in 2011. RussMart officials say they had to turn away teams because of a lack of fields in the area. Area restaurants report an uptick in March sales since the Indians left, as have some hotels.
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