Southern Miss

C-USA Tournament will benefit Coast’s economy, charities

The 2017 Conference USA Baseball Championship will bring not only quality baseball to MGM Park in Biloxi but it will also help local charities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Tim Bennett of Overtime Sports held a press conference Monday evening to announce details of the upcoming C-USA Baseball Championship – set for May 24-28 at the home park of the Biloxi Shuckers – as well as details on the new Champions 4 Charities.

Part of the proceeds from the C-USA Baseball Tournament will go to Coast charities.

Twelve Coast mayors along with numerous Coast elected officials, dignitaries and business leaders attended the press conference. Each Coast city has designated a charity beneficiary.

There are 12 teams in Conference USA and the top eight will quality for the baseball tournament. Currently, Southern Miss (26-7 overall) leads the C-USA standings at 10-2, followed by Old Dominion, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Charlotte, UTSA, Marshall, UAB, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky and Rice.

Individual game tickets will be $14.50 with a pass for the entire tournament going for $165. Day passes are $35. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketfly.com or at the MGM Park Box office. ESPN3 will carry all the tournament games up to the title game, which will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.

“When we think about the economic impact of having the Conference USA tournament here, it is pretty significant,’’ Bennett said. “We will have over 350 (players) who will be here. They have to lay their heads somewhere. They have to buy gas, they have to buy food. Their parents will be here. You will have all of these people coming. And we will have people coming to Biloxi for the first time, and certainly not the last time.

“We came up to the idea that if we can marry each city to a charity and then to a baseball game in (the tournament), it would be win, win, win. From each ticket sold for each game, $1 would be donated to charity.

“Last year, there were some 15,000 to 17,000 people who attended the Conference USA Tournament and I would hope we could do better than that.’’

Bennett said that he hoped to see a significant economic impact for the Coast. “We know the tournament has had a 3 to 4 million dollar economic impact in past years… The fact we have five days. With ESPN3 streaming (the games) nationally, we think that will an economic impact for the Coast.’’

Bennett hopes the baseball championship can have a similar impact as Cruisin’ the Coast and the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, two high-profile events on the Coast.

The C-USA championship will be at MGM Park for three years with a possible two-year extension. Tickets are available at MGMPark.com as well as at the MGM ticket offices.

Game plan

What: Conference USA Tournament

When: May 24-28

Where: MGM Park, Biloxi

TV: ESPN3.com, CBS Sports Network

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