Mattoon Pride players Taylor Smith, 12, and Shelby Cox, 13 waited along with Taylor’s dad, Todd, for their mom to shop in a grocery store in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn., before heading to lunch. More Photos »
But last year, when Kirsten’s older brother, Erik, played on a traveling baseball team, the experience could not have been more different. Parents rarely accompanied the team, he said, and the coach frowned on anything that distracted from the game. “No leisure activity,” said Erik, 19. “It was eat, sleep and drink baseball.”
As the popularity of youth tournaments has intensified over the past decade, a peculiar trend has emerged: girls’ sporting events tend to attract more relatives and generate more revenue for tourism than similar events for boys. And that is drawing increased attention from economic development officials.
“There are far more people who will travel with 12-year-old girls than even 12-year-old boys,” said Don Schumacher, executive director of the National Association of Sports Commissions, a trade group that advises communities on attracting sporting events. “And vastly more people will travel with 12-year-old girls than 18-year-old boys.”