The Peach Jam is back, after missing 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19.
The Nike-sponsored high school basketball tournament brings hundreds of the best high school players to North Augusta, Ga.
It was lit in 2019. The stars came out for real.
Next week the Riverview Park and Activities Center gyms will be filled with (but also restricted to) high school basketball players, coaches, and family.
Unfortunately, no fans will be allowed. The director of parks and recs says they will be missed, but there are some exciting changes and opportunities coming.
“They create the electric atmosphere that exists here in the gyms that the players and coaches love being in the middle of,” said Rick Meyer, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism for the City of North Augusta.
The Peach Jam is the area’s second most lucrative sporting event after “The Masters”, bringing in an average of $5M to the local economy. This year local officials are estimating at least seven to eight million will be generated, even without fans.
“The economic impact should be stronger than the past because most of your out-of-town people that are coming to town are your out-of-town players, coaches, college coaches and those type folks,” Meyer mentioned.
This means employed people who will be eating and shopping locally for two weeks instead of one. Doubling up the potential money pot is the inaugural participation of young women.
“I think it’s also an opportunity to give the girls some added exposure, to put them in the same building as the guys,” says Meyer.
So now instead of 300 college coaches, you’ll have 500.
But this event isn’t the only one bringing thousands from across the country, the treacherous Ironman is due to make a return this fall, bringing around 3,600 competitors to the area. In 2019 competitors traveled from 49 states and 19 countries.
“Well you know we kinda knew with the pandemic things would be slow to come back but we also knew that sports would be the fastest segment of the tourism industry to return because sports people just wanna be outside doing their thing,” said Brian Graham, CEO of the Greater Augusta Sports Council.
In April 2019 the Masters brought in over 26 million in hotel-motel revenue, in November 2020 it decreased to a little over $8.3 million. But this fall they are expecting over $15.3 million in revenue.
The Masters isn’t just a lucrative come up for the state, it’s the most celebrated event in golf and has housed some of Tiger Woods’ watershed career moments.
The 82nd Masters Golf Tournament is underway this morning in Augusta, Georgia. Tiger Woods is making his Masters return after a two-year absence over a back injury https://t.co/lZWl9llLSG pic.twitter.com/aI1pLN8ZP2
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 5, 2018
So as the big three sporting events are returning to the area with fewer restrictions, there’s an opportunity for some good ole’ southern hospitality.
The Peach Jam is always highly competitive and the elite of the elite take the floor to face off against one another.