Lackawanna County Recruiting Athletes Through ‘Sports Tourism’

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. -- Softball fields across Lackawanna County are quiet for now, but that will change this weekend as about a dozen ball fields play host to the Steamtown Sizzler tournament.

50 teams from five different states plan to participate.

"They've done a great job of expanding and growing their tournament, and next year they're actually hoping to grow it to five separate tournaments," said Lackawanna County Visitor's Bureau Director Curt Carmoni.

The Lackawanna County Visitor's Bureau helped bring the Sizzler Tournament here a few years ago and is now helping it grow.

It's all part of an effort to attract athletes to Lackawanna County. The bureau is actively marketing all the county's sports facilities to tournaments looking for a home.

"It's an opportunity to showcase how great Lackawanna County is for all these people who are coming for a different reason, but at the same time, generating economic impact while they're here for the tournament," Carmoni added.

While tournaments support sports facilities across the county, the people they bring support local businesses. Some 600 people are expected to stay in Lackawanna County hotels this weekend.

"The biggest thing for me is that it brings in families, and any of those families that are local, they can tell their friends, and it just brings more business to our hotel and to the community," said Bobby Cipollina, manager of Home 2 Suites in Dickson City.

Recruiting athletes could prove to be a home run.