Hattiesburg Chosen to Host 2023 Dixie Youth World Series
In late 2019, officials from Visit Hattiesburg adopted a five-year strategic plan that focuses on efforts to help the Hub City grow into a year-round, outdoor destination, as part of its long-term goal of becoming a premier city in the Gulf South.
Now, that work has helped bring the upcoming Dixie Youth World Series to Larry Doleac Baseball & Tatum Softball Complex, which has been named as the host city for that organization’s baseball championship this summer. That announcement was made on January 9 during a news conference at Tatum Park in Hattiesburg, by Mayor Toby Barker and officials from Visit Hattiesburg.
“We focused on increasing the economic impact of youth and adult sports in Hattiesburg, including promoting Hattiesburg across multiple states and throwing our name in the ring for big hosting opportunities for major sporting events,” said Marlo Dorsey, executive director of Visit Hattiesburg. “Sports tourism is a growing trend across the U.S., and in 2019, nearly 180 million people traveled to sporting events (around the country).
“During the (COVID-19) pandemic, as people could safely gather outdoors, in Hattiesburg we put a significant focus on youth and adult sports tournaments, and it was truly our lifeline for economic recovery in the hardest-hit industry of tourism. Not only do we believe in team sports – we are a team sport here in Hattiesburg.”
The tournament will last July 27 through August 1, and will feature championship teams from 11 southeastern states that will compete for the Dixie Youth World Series Division I and II 8U AA titles. This year marks the first time in more than two decades since Hattiesburg has been chosen as host for the tournament, with the last instance being in 1998.
In August 2022, a team of officials from Visit Hattiesburg and the Hattiesburg Youth Baseball organization traveled to Lumberton, North Carolina – which served as the host for the 2022 youth World Series – to visit with the national board of Dixie Youth Baseball. During that visit, Dixie officials considered Hattiesburg as a potential host for the 2024 World Series.
Frank James, who serves as chair of the Hattiesburg Tourism Commission, said based on Hattiesburg’s presentation and its passion for baseball, that date was moved up one year.
“With improved facilities and a renowned and renewed vigor to grow sports travel to Hattiesburg, we knew that our community – also known as ‘Baseburg’ – was ready to open our doors and playing fields once again,” James said. “We’re excited to showcase our city and Hattiesburg’s signature hospitality to thousands of players, coaches and spectators in just a few short months.”
“Baseburg,” the city’s official bid for the tournament, included numerous athletic field offerings as well as a portfolio of hotel accommodations, dining options, and tourism attractions for players and families outside of game times.
“This is an incredible opportunity for the City of Hattiesburg – an opportunity to showcase our city, an opportunity for our merchants, our restaurants, our hotels to do well,” Barker said. “Our city really depends on sales tax every year, and the more that we continue to drive up tourism – that we are the third-most visited city in the state and growing – the better we’re going to do as a city.
“But along with that opportunity comes a lot of responsibility, and that means the city’s going to be there, to help with the upkeep of the fields as well as public safety.”
More details regarding tickets, game times, bracket play and public ceremonies will be shared closer to the date of the tournament. To keep up with the 2023 Dixie Youth World Series, visit www.baseburg.com.
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