Intermediate Little League brings big business for Livermore

July 30, 2013 7:49:17 PM PDT
The Intermediate Little League World Series is giving the Tri-Valley area a nine-day economic boom. It means big crowds on and off the field.

This World Series has drawn on teams and spectators from all over the world, including places like Japan, Canada, and Ecuador, as well as domestic places like Houston. They're not here for just a long weekend or for a few hours, as in the case of the Amgen Tour of California. Nine days in hotels, eating and shopping will add up to millions of dollars.

The 11 to 13-year-old players have parents, extended families, friends and supporters. Over the course of a week, 10,000 of them have descended on the Livermore Valley and they're consumers, too.

"They love bacon and sausage and pancakes," said Debbie Loge from the Courtyard By Marriott Livermore.

It's the kind of shot in the arm Livermore businesses love. Sauced BBQ was teeming with Little League players and families Monday night. There was a crowd of 1,000 inside and out.

"We had the Little Leaguers. We took care of them outside. They all ate out on the grass area, and the parents and the people following them. It was a really big turnout for downtown Livermore, which is just great," said Barrett Gomes, the Sauced BBQ co-owner.

Hotels in the region have seen an eight percent bump in occupancy. The Courtyard By Marriott is hosting the four of the six U.S. teams. The Little League teams booked an extended stay of nine nights.

Loge: "They checked in Sunday night, and they won't check out until next Tuesday morning after the final World Series game on Monday night."
Louie: "And that's longer than your corporate customers."
Loge: "That's way longer, yes. Our corporate customers are here one or two nights maybe."

Livermore has been trying to court more sports events and festivals to boost visitor traffic because of its impact on local businesses. Four years ago, it had 15 special events. This year, it will host 60 -- a four-fold increase generating millions of dollars.

"Maybe Little League is here because Amgen was here. They build on each other because what they see is there's a cooperative government that will bend over backwards to pull the permits, build the infrastructure that they need. They know that's a great place to come. They also see the beauty," said Dale Eldridge Kaye form the Livermore Valley Chamber Of Commerce.

There's hope Livermore will work hard to bring back the World Series next year.

"They need to see what we're going to do in year one in regard to economics. They've got things like Amgen and other items they do. We're a brand new toy, so they'll see what we do, and I'm sure next year they're going to be a great partner with us," said Dave Wetmore, an Intermediate World Series Director.

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