COLUMBIA - Visitors started gathering in Columbia Friday to compete in the Show-Me State Games Soccerfest.
The Soccerfest kicks off Saturday morning with 180 teams competing. The marketing and media coordinator, Emily Lorenz, estimates around 2,000 spectators and competitors will get together at Hickman High School to raise money for the Show-Me State Games.
"Columbia really is the perfect place for the Show Me State Games," Lorenz said. "It is centrally located, which focuses on that state wide impact."
The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau presented a sports feasibility study to Columbia City Council on Monday. The study aims to bring money into the city through hosting sports activity. Megan McConachie, communications manager, said the visitor's bureau is in the beginning stages of logistics for the study. The study will cost $95,000 and McConachie said it's important to consider Columbia's suggestions.
"It was about us understanding as far as what tournaments were we hosting, what facilities do you already have?" McConachie said. "And if we want to grow this market, it's a really fantastic tourism market. What do we need to do?"
She said games like Soccerfest are having immediate impact on the Columbia economy.
"Amateur sports are a really great economic driver. It is a short time where we are participants, coaches, friends, family in town," McConachie said. "They sleep in our hotels, they eat in our restaurants, they shop in our stores, they buy gas before they go home. So it a very powerful economic impact in a short amount of time."
Lorenz said the games will continue throughout the weekend with or without snow.