ACC baseball championship expected to boost Louisville's economy - WDRB 41 Louisville News

ACC baseball championship expected to boost Louisville's economy, reputation

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ACC Baseball banner in downtown Louisville ACC Baseball banner in downtown Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For the first time the city of Louisville is hosting an ACC Sports championship, and it could result in an economic homerun.

The ACC baseball championship starts Tuesday at Slugger Field. It is not quite as big as basketball, but it does mean 12 teams, thousands of fans and millions of dollars.

At Slugger Field crews are busy turning the home of the Louisville Bats and Louisville FC soccer into home base for the ACC baseball championship.

“Luckily the Bats schedule, we happened to be out of town. So, the week worked, and once we saw the week worked, we quickly got with the ACC and had a handshake deal to bring it here,” said Gary Ulmer, president of the Louisville Bats.

The tournament was to be in Durham, North Carolina, but the ACC pulled out after the state passed its controversial bathroom bill.

"This event was pulled from North Carolina, and we're the beneficiary in Kentucky because we have favorable laws," said Karl Schmitt, president of the Louisville Sports Commission.

The fans lining up for tickets outside the stadium don't seem to care about the politics.

"Well, it's fortunate. Obviously, North Carolina's loss is our gain. It's good for the city. It's good for me," said Scott Smallwood.

"It's awesome," said Michael Weimer. "Right here at home. You don't have to travel to see it - big time baseball."

The sports commission says the championship will have a $5 million economic impact.

"With fans, the teams, the team entourage coming and staying at our hotels, spending dollars in our restaurants and at our attractions," said Schmitt.

Doc Crow’s Restaurant on Whiskey Row downtown is hoping to see that bump in business.

"We have a lot of people staying in hotels nearby, so we expect a lot of people walking over on foot," said Nathaniel Williams, the restaurant’s floor manager.

But beyond the economic impact, Louisville is also hoping to enhance its sports reputation.

"It's another opportunity for this community to demonstrate to the sports world that we know how to host major events," said Schmitt.

Fans hope this is just the first of many ACC championships to come.

"To get something like this, to me is big. I think it's the future, and we're taking one step at a time," said Gerard Weiter.  "This is good for us."

The first pitch is at 11 o'clock Tuesday morning, with Georgia Tech taking on Miami.

Louisville is the number one seed, and plays its first game on Thursday at 7 p.m. against Notre Dame.

You can see the full schedule and ticker information here.

Reach reporter Lawrence Smith at (502) 585-0845, lsmith@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook.

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