Tom Cocke, director of the Loris Recreation Department, has paved a way for Loris to grow through sports tournaments. He has spent the last year accumulating data and information to improve the recreation center fields and buildings and to bring in people from South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia to participate in baseball and softball tournaments.
The term sportourism is the name that interim city administrator Dennis Drozdak created to promote the tournaments in Loris. Cocke has taken the initiative to collect data and has worked with city council to make tournaments in Loris a success. He stated, “We are teaming with Top Gun, who will take the gate fees during the tournaments.” He continued, “We could make up to $20,000 per tournament depending upon the length of the tournament and the number of teams participating.”
Cocke stated the department is working with Top Gun Sports USA to generate tournaments in Loris beginning February 2020. He said the concessions will bring in revenue also. Renovations are in progress preparing for the crowds to come. Santee Cooper volunteered to place the light poles and Kingston Electric is in the process of installing the field lights. All baseball and softball fields are undergoing replacement clay infield mixture that controls moisture levels that yields drainage and harness 70 percent sand and 30 percent clay.
The programs provided during the tournaments will have advertisements from local businesses giving and an opportunity to promote foot traffic through the city. The program will include the history of Loris, restaurants, business and what to do in Loris during the tournaments. Banners on the field and on the scoreboard are available for a nominal fee to promote a business or individual.
A $7,000 donation was made to help purchase the new WI-FI scoreboards; this was not a big announcement as the contributor did not want the fanfare.
Four interns are set to work 480 hours with Cocke and the recreation department marketing the tournaments. The interns are seniors at Coastal Carolina University working on their degree in recreation and sports. Cocke stated the interns will make calls on local businesses to promote advertising at the fields and in the programs handed out at the tournaments.