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Growth of Sports Tourism Continues in Myrtle Beach Area

Construction on the new Myrtle Beach Sports Center continues on schedule for an anticipated opening in March 2015.

It is just the latest addition to the Myrtle Beach area's burgeoning sports tourism market, and a positive step forward in making the area a world-class destination for both teams to compete and families to vacation.

"Talented athletes have been coming to the Myrtle Beach area for years in the name of spirited competition, and the new facilities and amenities being offered are a fantastic way to host even more," said Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. "We have truly become a destination that appeals to athletes of all ages and abilities, from fast-paced runners and cross-country sprinters to revered basketball, baseball and volleyball players. And when they are not competing, these athletes and their friends and family have a wealth of wonderful attractions to explore along our 60 miles of pristine, sandy beaches."

Work on the Myrtle Beach Sports Center began on Feb. 24, 2014. The complex will include space for eight basketball courts or 16 volleyball courts, a café and retail area, an entertainment zone and seating capacity for 1,500 to 2,000 spectators. It is also configurable for numerous indoor sports. Sports Complex Rendering

In its first year, the indoor sports complex is projected to generate $6.9 million in direct visitor spending. By its fifth year, that number is expected to reach $28.4 million annually. Two-thirds of the additional visitor revenue will occur outside of the peak summer tourism season.

When it is completed, the Myrtle Beach Sports Center will join Grand Park at The Market Common and the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex as the latest state-of-the-art facilities capable of hosting large numbers of sporting events and teams in the Myrtle Beach area.

Additionally, the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex recently opened the Go Ape Zipline and Treetop Adventure course, which includes five ziplines.

For race enthusiasts, there is a wealth of opportunities in the Myrtle Beach area, and those opportunities continue to grow.

The popular Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon returns on Oct. 19, 2014. This race features over five miles of oceanfront running and was chosen by the vacation rental website FlipKey as one of the top 50 races and marathons worth traveling for.

On Dec. 13, 2014, over 3,000 youth athletes will descend upon the Myrtle Beach area for the 2014 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships. The ages for the competition range between 7 and 18 years old.

Switching from the running course to the basketball court, a Myrtle Beach area staple returns for its 34th year. The 2014 Beach Ball Classic returns to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center from Dec. 26 to Dec. 31, 2014. The premier holiday basketball tournament showcases the nation's top high school teams and future NBA standouts. Former players have included Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton.

Looking ahead to next year, the 18th Annual MyrtleBeach.com Myrtle Beach Marathon will make race enthusiasts fall in love with running all over again when they take off from the starting line on Feb. 14, 2015.

A race that specializes in girl power, the Divas Half Marathon and 5K Series, returns to North Myrtle Beach on April 12, 2015.

There are a number of other sports-related events taking place annually throughout the Myrtle Beach area. For a complete listing, go to GrandStrandEvents.com.