By Emma Delk, The Intelligencer
WHEELING, W.Va. — As high school football players hit Wheeling Island Stadium’s turf today and Saturday, business owners across the Ohio Valley anticipate an increase in customers during the Super Six state championships.
With no local teams participating this year, Ohio County Commissioner and Ohio County Development Authority President Randy Wharton views the tournament as a major tourist opportunity. Future revenue and visitors are what Wharton believes the championship will bring to the city after the last whistle Saturday.
“Many of the visitors may be in Wheeling for the first time, so they will go to attractions like the Capitol Music Hall, The Highlands and the Wheeling Island Casino,” explained Wharton. “They come here, get that experience, spend some money and hopefully come back.”
Beyond attractions, hotels and restaurants will be filled with fans this weekend. An estimated 25,000 visitors will hit the city, bringing with them an economic impact of about $900,000, according to Wheeling Convention & Visitors Bureau Marketing Director Olivia Litman.
“There’s going to be a great crowd and good games, which is what you want,” said Litman. “No player is going to ask their grandparents, uncles and everybody else to come down when they’re going to get clobbered, so having competitive games on the schedule attracts more people in from out-of-town.”
This year’s title games are Princeton against Martinsburg in Class AAA, Fairmont Senior and North Marion in Class AA and Greenbrier West and Williamstown in Class A.