Officials with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) last week named Clarksville as the site of the 2021 and 2023 Boys Basketball National Championships for 10-and-Under and 4th Grade Division I and Division II.
Visit Clarksville officials estimate attendance of 3,885 athletes, coaches, AAU officials and family members for approximately five nights for each yearly event. Qualifying teams come from across the country to compete. Specific dates have not been determined, but the games will take place during July in 2021 and 2023.
Hosting national basketball championships for AAU is familiar territory for Visit Clarksville staff and volunteers. Between 1999 and 2018, the city hosted dozens of regional and national AAU basketball events. When an opening came up beginning in 2021, AAU officials asked Clarksville to bid.
“In the amateur sports world, Clarksville is well-known for providing superior service, offering first-class facilities, and being a great place for families to visit,” said Visit Clarksville Board of Directors Chairman Kyle Luther. “We’re thrilled to again host these young athletes and their families from all over the country and show them our outstanding destination.”
“Clarksville is happy to be selected as host of these AAU Boys Basketball National Championships,” Mayor Joe Pitts said. “We have outstanding facilities to meet the tournaments' needs for high-quality athletic experiences for the teams, and we have a large number of historical and cultural attractions, restaurants and shopping venues to ensure a great experience for families and fans. The good people of Clarksville stand ready to provide an enthusiastic welcome to these AAU events.”
For each tournament played in Clarksville-Montgomery County, millions of dollars are brought into the community through several different avenues. Tournament visitors, including players, coaches, family members and spectators, spend funds on hotel accommodations, food, entertainment and shopping. Projected visitor spending of $7.6 million during the two years supports a wide range of local businesses, but also directly contributes to the city, county and state tax base, as well as the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. (Spending projections for the two championships are based on data from Clarksville’s last hosted championships in 2018.)
“The fact that the AAU Committee has chosen our community to host the AAU Boys Championship event for two years is a testament to the exceptional hospitality AAU families and staff have received in Clarksville-Montgomery County in the past. As thousands of people travel to visit during the tournaments, we will have the opportunity to show them why we are the best place to live in the United States. One thing for certain, our visitors will have plenty to see and do while they are here,” said Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett.
Since 1999, visitor spending, or economic impact, from AAU national tournaments totaled upwards of $28 million. An upswing in county tax revenue is historically seen during the months that the basketball tournaments are in the community.
“The support of our local hotels and restaurants, along with our many volunteers, is the key to our success with all of our sports events,” said Luther. “We could not continue to offer this level of successful service and positive experiences to our guests year after year without that broad base of support.”
“As a former basketball player myself, I recognize and fully support the great opportunities the AAU program offers. Hosting the boys national championships in our community will be a huge win for Clarksville,” according to Millard House II, director of Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools.
Clarksville-Montgomery County promotes itself to AAU site selection committees on several main points including major interstate access, proximity to the Nashville Airport, multiple well-equipped venues within a short driving distance, committed community members and businesses, and dedicated media coverage. To qualify for the selection process, each city must present the elements that make their community competitive, as well as pay a bid fee. Bid fees for these tournaments are funded through a grant from the Aspire Clarksville Foundation, the privately funded community marketing and economic development initiative.
“The Aspire Foundation was created decades ago to spur economic development and give us an edge in high-impact areas across multiple sectors, including tourism,” said Jeff Truitt, executive director of the Aspire Clarksville Foundation. “Through generous funding by our investors, Clarksville has the opportunity to competitively recruit events such as AAU Championships and other sporting events that bring thousands of visitors -- and ultimately their dollars -- to Clarksville-Montgomery County.”
Photo Caption: The Riverside (CA) Hawks claimed the Division 1 10U Championship in Clarksville in 2018.