Summer basketball tournament boosts economy

Local News

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Basketball players took over the court and the town this weekend for the United Hoops Network Tournament.

Games took place at several gyms across the Twin Cities and is having a big impact on the area.

Many players came from across central Illinois and neighboring states.

“You’re going to see a lot of kids out in the community, and their families, at restaurants, and you know, obviously filling hotels. So it’s been a great opportunity for us,” said tournament co-director Kirk Whiteman.

75 teams headed to Bloomington-Normal, along with the families of the players.

They’re expected to have a direct impact on about $160,000 on the area.

“Oh it definitely get people moving across town, and driving through the businesses, ” said tournament director Todd Barbour.

Tournament organizers estimate over 1,500 people came for the weekend.

“We just walked up and down, even in the heat. Lovely shops and restaurants,” said a parent of a player, Heather Wayde.

Wayde’s team came from the Quad Cities and stayed in a local hotel.

“Just that step far enough that it was worth staying over. And it was a multi-day tournament, so it made sense,” said Wayde.

Along with the money tournament goers spend, the event also creates jobs.

“An event of this size requires some staffing, and we try to bring in some really great officials,” said Whiteman.

Tournament directors worked with the convention and visitors bureau to help make the event possible.

“Bloomington-Normal is such a great venue, its a great city. Lot of different things to do,” said Whiteman.

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