ASHLAND, Ky. — Officials anticipate the upcoming Braidy Industries $60,000 Women’s Tennis Classic will bring in more visitors this year, making its economic development impact even larger.
“This being the second year (of the tournament) I think we’re going to attract even more people here because the quality of play that they had really just exceeded expectations,” said Ashland Alliance President Tim Gibbs. “… it’s just a nice, nice attribute to have, kind of a quality of life attribute that we’re starting to do things here that we haven’t done before.”
Gibbs said the Alliance doesn’t have the exact numbers regarding economic impact from last year’s tournament, but noted all hotels were booked causing many guests to stay in private homes.
“There’s economic impact to your hotels, to your restaurants and these are real drivers and tourism is certainly part of the economic development picture so anytime we have something done and done to a high level — and this being done year after year — it’s certainly going to do nothing but help drive the economy,” he said.
Gibbs said the Alliance is going to start measuring the impact of the tournament this year.
Tournament Chairman Jack Ditty said there will be over 50 players coming to the tournament—all of which will bring along coaches and family members. There are also 28 tennis officials who will come into town as well. He pointed out each will stay in local hotels, frequent local businesses and even use the local airport.
Ditty said he was unsure how many spectators came to last year’s tournament but said there were times when the main court was full, seating between 500 to 550 guests. He pointed out there were also other matches going on at the same time that were drawing spectators as well.
Last year Ditty said 14 tournament players ended up either qualifying or making the main draw to be in the US Open.
“That’ a huge number for a tournament this size,” he said.