(SALISBURY, Md.) - Along with plenty of talent, the Governor's Challenge high school basketball tournament brought a $1.2 million economic impact to Wicomico County.
The Governor's Challenge, sponsored by The Bank of Delmarva, brought 100 teams together in competition this holiday season at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center and area high schools. For the third year, Wicomico County Tourism partnered with DMVelite for the event, which took place from Dec. 27-30.
Teams traveled from eight states for the Governor's Challenge: Maryland, Delaware, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina and Virginia. Washington, D.C., and Europe were also represented. As a result, more than 800 total room nights were booked at Wicomico County hotels.
High school boys and girls and post-graduate athletes all took part in the Governor's Challenge, and some of the region's best basketball players were on the courts for the County's 36th year hosting a holiday basketball tournament.
"Over 300 players who have played at the Governor's Challenge in the last five years have moved on to play at the collegiate level," said Wicomico County Assistant Tourism Manager James Simmons, who organizes the Governor's Challenge.
As the second-largest holiday high school basketball tournament in the nation and largest on the East Coast, the Governor's Challenge has garnered recognition on a national level. For 2016, the Governor's Challenge was featured in Sports Planning Guide's "20 Events Worth Watching" and on MaxPreps' list titled "High school basketball tournaments and events to watch in 2016-17."
Simmons expects the Governor's Challenge to continue its growth in 2017.
"The plan is to become the largest holiday high school basketball tournament in the country with 124 teams," Simmons said.
The Governor's Challenge also has a role in bettering the community through a partnership with the Rotary Club of Salisbury.
The Rotary Club of Salisbury presented three local nonprofits with funding through its new 3-Point Initiative grant. The club raised more than $5,500 through its work in procuring sponsors for the tournament, and the Donnie Williams Foundation matched that amount, bringing the total awarded to more than $11,000.
In addition to the Governor's Challenge, Wicomico County brings several other amateur sports events to the area on an annual basis. In Fiscal Year 2017, the County's efforts in sports marketing are expected to generate an economic impact of more than $49 million. To learn more about the Governor's Challenge and the County's sports marketing reach, visit www.SalisburyChampionships.org.