Annual Volleyball Tournament To Boost Local Economy

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)- The annual Battle at the Fort volleyball tournament kicks off Saturday (Jan. 28), bringing in thousands of players and boosting the local economy.

"According to our calculations, over two weekends, $1.9 million into our community that would've gone somewhere else had the tournament not been here," Fort Smith A&P Commission executive director Claude Legris said. "It has an amazing impact on the hotels, the restaurants, the retail, they'll all end up buying gasoline to come here and get back out. It touches a lot of different areas of the economy in Fort Smith."

Hotels nearby are completely booked.

"We've been working really hard getting our rooms ready," Courtyard Marriott guest service agent Michael Franklin said. "They're all newly renovated rooms and we're providing lunches and opening up Starbucks all weekend."

Some players might even earn more than just a trophy.

"This tournament is known to have college volleyball scouts attending," Legris said. "So based on their performance here, some of the young ladies could end up with some college scholarships depending on what they see here at the Battle at the Fort, so we're very proud of that."

Volleyball parents said they enjoy coming back each year.

"We have a great time every time we come to Fort Smith," Jarrid Matlock said. "It's a bigger city, but acts like a small town, a lot of great places to eat. People are really nice, we enjoy it."

The tournament games will be played at the Fort Smith Convention Center at 55 South 7th Street and the Fort Smith Juniors Facility at 5709 South 73rd Place on Jan. 28-29 and Feb. 4-5.

For more information about the tournament, visit the Battle at the Fort website.