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Tournament an ace for Kzoo economy
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It's a local summer tradition that goes back decades. The USTA boys national championships are going on right now at Kalamazoo College.
The event draws hundreds of tennis players, their families and spectators to town.
The U.S. Tennis Association has held its 16 and 18 national championships in Kalamazoo for the past 71 years.
This is the biggest junior tournament of the year. It's actually an honor to come here. This is a big deal for the guys, Randy Pete, a coach from North Carolina, says.
Four Hundred teen athletes are hitting the Kalamazoo College tennis courts for the 11-day-long competition.
Adding up all the coaches, families and fans, you have well over 1,000 visitors spending money at local businesses.
While they don't have exact numbers, Greg Ayers, president of Discover Kalamazoo, says this will have a big economic impact.
If you're here for 10 days, you end up making some retail purchases and being able to get around in the community and so it's an important event to bring to Kalamazoo every August economically, but it's also a great celebration of tennis, Ayers says.
Coach Randy Pete brought two tennis players up from Winston-Salem, N.C. He says in years past they've seen more than just hotels and the tennis courts.
It's a beautiful city. Last year we went to the zoo and some of the museums and restaurants downtown We really enjoy the hospitality and the way people in Kalamazoo treat the people that come in. It's a one-of-a-kind experience, Pete says.
Discover Kalamazoo says hosting big tournaments like this can lead to other big events coming to town.
Ayers says, There's some really great blueprints that are allowing for these events to be successful.
You can view and download the complete schedule here.