Hotels throughout the region will experience the draw of amateur sports this weekend as the annual Lutheran Basketball Association of America (LBAA) national tournament, the Illinois YMCA State Youth Swim Meet, and the Region Cup College Showcase descend upon the South Shore.

"The South Shore plays host to numerous sporting events throughout the year," explained Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore CVA. "This year alone, sporting events will contribute an estimated $2.5 million in economic impact to the region."

The LBAA national basketball tournament will bring 64 middle school boys and girls basketball teams from 16 states to the South Shore, booking approximately 2,500 hotel room nights throughout Lake and Porter counties. The annual event contributes an estimated $625,000 in economic impact.

"Lutheran Basketball has been hosted along the South Shore for many years," stated Batistatos. "This event brings in players, families and fans from across the United States, filling our hotels, restaurants and businesses."

Batistatos explained that the LBAA tournament will bring teams from across the United States, including teams from California, Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland and Florida.

New to the South Shore, the Illinois YMCA Youth Swim Meet will take to the lanes of the new Lake Central Aquatic Center. The event will attract 1,145 athletes from 38 different YMCAs in Illinois and one from Kenosha, Wis.

Jon Meier, meet director, stated that this year marks the first year the event has been hosted in Indiana, citing the new swim facility as what attracted the group to the area.

The Crown Point Sportsplex will be hosting the Region Cup College Showcase Friday, March 20 through Sunday, March 22.

During the tournament, U15 through U18 boys soccer teams from Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan will compete.

The three sporting events will result in nearly 3,000 hotel room nights, garnering an estimated $750,000 in economic impact.

"As local cities and towns invest in facilities that attract amateur sporting events, the South Shore will continue to see a rise in generated economic impact," said Batistatos. "The region is centrally located and affordable for both teams and their families."

Rick Flutka, sports development manager for the South Shore CVA, explained that many services are offered to sports event planners.

"The South Shore CVA can assist incoming teams with site visits and securing a facility, and offers teams an easily accessible location," explained Flutka. "Additionally, the South Shore CVA provides sporting events with a housing system and works with local hotels to secure blocks of rooms." Other services provided by the South Shore CVA include welcome signage and coupon sheets featuring local restaurants and family attractions.

For information on hosting sporting events along the South Shore, visit www.southshorecva.com/sports or call Rick Flutka at 219-989-7770. For more information on the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, visit www.southshorecva.com.