Despite a cancellation this year, the show will go on – in the future — for the city's largest annual group event.
The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Springfield Sports Commission yesterday announced the National Christian HomeSchool Basketball Championships signed a three-year contract extension to keep the event in the Queen City. The 2020 tournament was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials said last month.
“The event brings in more than $4.5 million in spending annually and is very important to our sports tourism efforts in Springfield," said Lance Kettering, executive director of the Springfield Sports Commission, in a news release. "We took the opportunity during the COVID crisis to further our partnership and commitment to host the event in Springfield, and we are looking forward to many more years of working together to bring over 350 teams, 3,500 basketball players and 8,000 to 10,000 folks to Springfield annually in March each year.”
The contract keeps the event in Springfield through at least 2025. CVB President and CEO Tracy Kimberlin said via email the organization and the Sports Commission provide $30,000 in incentives annually to keep the tournament operating locally.
The cancellation of this year's tournament is among the factors contributing to the local hospitality industry slowing to a halt amid the COVID-19 crisis. The CVB previously projected this year's tournament, which had been scheduled March 14-21, would generate 7,021 room nights at local hotels.
Venues that had been slated to host tournament games last month include The Fieldhouse Sportscenter, The Clubhouse, Strafford Sports Center and Missouri State University. Roughly 350 teams were scheduled to participate, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
Springfield has hosted the National Christian HomeSchool Basketball Championships since 2009, according to the release.
Hybrid coffeehouse and plant shop Urban Grounds launched in Ozark; the Missouri Job Center relocated; and Closet Chic LLC opened a brick-and-mortar shop.