Summer basketball tournament draws thousands, boosts local economy

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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WICHITA, Kan. -- In the stands of court 7-B at the Farha Center in south Wichita, Tenicia Elizondo steadies a video camera. She pans to the left as her son, Isaiah, makes a steal and dribbles to the basket.

"Get it, get it!" she cheered.

Elizondo traveled to Wichita from San Antonio to make sure she captured every moment that her son's team, the Texas Champions, were on the court.

She got into town Thursday and planned to stay through Sunday when the tournament ended. She and the families of the nine other players on the Texas Champions, have been staying at a Wichita hotel, shopping in town, and eating at many local restaurants.

"Oh, it seems like that's all we've been doing is eating!" Elizondo said.

The Texas Champions were just one of the 600 teams from 12 states visiting central Kansas to play in the 21st Mid-America Youth Basketball (MAYB) Tournament.

It's considered the nation's largest summer basketball tournament.

"The hotels, the gas, the restaurants, everything should hopefully benefit from it," MAYB Tournament Director Greg Raleigh said.

Raleigh says a study was done a few years back that put on a number on the estimated economic effect the three-day tournament has on the area each year.

"The amount was well over $10 million for the weekend," Raleigh said.

That wealth is spread out over a number of communities. Games were played on 67 courts from Hutchinson to El Dorado.

"If there's a gym in the area, we're using it," Raleigh said.

Raleigh says the tournament only continues to grow. He hopes that means the tournament will continue to give the area an economic boost.

"We've been stable and able to do it for 21 years so hopefully we have another 21 years in us," Raleigh said.

Area businesses say they hope so, too. They look forward to serving more people like Tenicia Elizondo in the future.

"We're really enjoying ourselves here," Elizondo said.


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