Lancaster County club outsources growing tournaments

Lancaster County-based independent soccer organization Pennsylvania Classics, which hosts tournaments, summer camps and games for its own league, announced a three-year contract to outsource running its tournaments.

The contract is with Maryland-based Elite Tournaments, which will run the four competitions held over five weekends throughout the year.

Pennsylvania Classics has programs for ages 5 through high school on almost 40 teams and in small groups to learn about soccer. Its tournaments include the Mid-Atlantic Cup, held over two weekends in July, the Keystone Cup over Labor Day weekend and the Winter College Showcase recruiting event.

“The growth over the last four to five years requires that we use a bigger company with national-level resources,” Classics vice president Michael Henning said.

The organization also wants to grow the tournaments from regional events in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to a broader footprint, including attendees from farther South and West, he said.

In 2011, 537 teams with players ranging from 9 years old through high school attended three of the four tournaments, he said. About 225 of those were from outside the state, he said.

The fourth tournament, held over Columbus Day weekend, was in its first year with much smaller attendance numbers than the other three, Henning said.

He said he estimates a more than $3 million impact on the local economy from the competitions held on the organization’s fields in East Hempfield and Penn townships.

That’s part of a larger estimate of $40 million to $50 million that’s gone into the local economy in the past two years from sports competitions, said Mike Messina, managing director of sales for the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau. Those numbers only are related to events connected with the bureau and do not include professional or semi-professional teams, high school or college sports, he said.

“Lancaster is now on the map when it comes to hosting (sports) events” Messina said.

This item has been modified from its original version to correct a typo.

Holly White

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