Questions are being raised about the future of the Conference USA baseball tournament at Biloxi’s MGM Park, with rising costs reportedly among the challenges facing event organizers.
This May will mark the fourth C-USA baseball tournament at MGM Park, home of the Biloxi Shuckers (Class AA; Southern League), with the event booked and hosted by Tim Bennett of Overtime Sports. C-USA is slated to return May 20-24 of this year, but a scheduling glitch created complications for the upcoming tournament, as the Shuckers’ schedule–which was released after dates for the C-USA tournament were announced–called for them to play at home on the opening night of the tournament. Bennett, who is also an owner of the Shuckers, reportedly agreed to pay the team $27,500 to schedule a doubleheader the night before, preventing any scheduling or venue changes for the tournament.
Long term, however, concerns are being raised about rising costs for the event, which is prompting some questions about whether it will return to Biloxi in 2021. For his part, Bennett says he is continuing discussions about renewing his agreement with C-USA while working to keep the tournament in Biloxi. More from the Biloxi Sun-Herald:
Bennett is in negotiations with C-USA to extend his contract to host the championship games. He’s also contacted Biloxi to see if there is an interest in the city partnering with him to host the tournament and create a shared revenue, he said.
“While those talks are ongoing, I have not received a definitive answer yes or no,” he said.
“Other cities in the region have taken note and they want that exposure, economic impact and the tournament, he said. He expects to know in the next month or two whether he will again host the tournament.
Bennett does have control of Jackson, MS’s Smith-Wills Stadium, the former Jackson Mets/Generals (Class AA; Texas League) home that is now being used for college baseball. Upgrades and college baseball tournaments are among Bennett’s plans for the facility, though he says he is working to keep the C-USA tournament in Biloxi.