The Economic Impact of Sports in Harrison County, MS

Sports have always been a significant part of the culture and community in Harrison County, MS. From high school football games to professional fishing tournaments, sports bring people together and create a sense of pride and unity. But beyond the excitement and entertainment, sports also have a significant economic impact on the county.

The Growth of Sports in Harrison County

Harrison County has a long history of sports, with many local teams and athletes achieving success at the state and national level. However, in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of sporting events and facilities in the county. One of the main reasons for this growth is the development of the Gulfport Sportsplex, a state-of-the-art sports complex that opened in 1998. The Sportsplex has 250 acres of land dedicated to various sports fields, including baseball, softball, soccer, and football.

It also has an indoor facility for basketball and volleyball tournaments. The Gulfport Sportsplex has attracted numerous regional and national tournaments, bringing in thousands of athletes and spectators to the county each year. This has not only boosted the local economy but also put Harrison County on the map as a premier sports destination.

The Economic Impact of Sporting Events

Hosting sporting events has a significant economic impact on Harrison County. According to a study by the National Association of Sports Commissions, each visitor to a sporting event spends an average of $250 per day on lodging, food, transportation, and other expenses. With thousands of visitors coming to Harrison County for sporting events each year, this translates to millions of dollars being injected into the local economy. The Gulfport Sportsplex alone generates an estimated $20 million annually for the county. But it's not just the Sportsplex that benefits from sporting events.

Local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and retail stores, also see a significant increase in revenue during major tournaments. This creates job opportunities and boosts the overall economic growth of the county.

The Impact on Tourism

Sports tourism has become a major industry in Harrison County, with visitors coming from all over the country to participate in or watch sporting events. This has not only brought in revenue but also helped promote the county as a tourist destination. Many visitors who come for sporting events often extend their stay to explore other attractions in Harrison County, such as its beautiful beaches, casinos, and historical sites. This has led to an increase in tourism and has helped diversify the county's economy. The success of sports tourism in Harrison County has also attracted new investments and developments.

For example, the Mississippi Aquarium, which is set to open in 2020, was partly funded by revenue generated from sporting events at the Gulfport Sportsplex.

The Impact on Local Businesses

Aside from the direct impact on tourism and the local economy, sports also have a significant impact on local businesses in Harrison County. The success of local sports teams and athletes often leads to increased sales for businesses that sponsor or support them. For example, when a high school football team makes it to the state championship, local businesses often see an increase in sales of team merchandise and game-day essentials. This not only benefits the businesses but also creates a sense of community pride and support.

The Importance of Sports for Youth Development

Besides the economic impact, sports also play a crucial role in the development of youth in Harrison County. Participating in sports teaches important values such as teamwork, discipline, and perseverance.

It also provides opportunities for young athletes to earn scholarships and pursue higher education. The Gulfport Sportsplex has been instrumental in providing a safe and accessible space for youth to participate in sports. It offers various programs and camps for children of all ages, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

The Future of Sports in Harrison County

The economic impact of sports in Harrison County is undeniable, and the county continues to invest in its sports facilities and programs. The Gulfport Sportsplex is currently undergoing a $15 million expansion, which will include new fields, a water park, and an amphitheater. Furthermore, the county is actively seeking to attract more sporting events and tournaments to the area. With its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and top-notch facilities, Harrison County is well-positioned to become a premier sports destination in the Southeast.


In conclusion, sports have a significant economic impact on Harrison County, MS.

From generating revenue and promoting tourism to providing opportunities for youth development, sports play a vital role in the growth and success of the county. As the county continues to invest in its sports facilities and attract more events, the future looks bright for sports in Harrison County.

Harry Cirri
Harry Cirri

Passionate internet expert. Amateur music fanatic. Professional coffee evangelist. Friendly web trailblazer. Professional tvaholic. Typical pizza fanatic.

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