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Volleyball tournament expected to bring $3 million to city

| Friday, May 25, 2012, 10:32 p.m.
Workers set up the volleyball courts at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown on Thursday afternoon for this weekend's volleyball tournament. Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review

Nearly 5,000 volleyball players and supporters will descend on Pittsburgh this weekend, bringing about $3 million in business to hotels, restaurants and even other sporting events, according to VisitPittsburgh.

The tourism agency's chief executive officer, Craig Davis, said that not only is the business good for the city, the timing is as well -- Memorial Day weekend is a tough time to fill events such as conventions. Tournament-goers have booked 3,023 rooms for the holiday weekend.

"They stay overnight and spend a lot of money," Davis said. "They're not playing all the time, so they take in local attractions and eat at local restaurants."

Two hundred traveling volleyball teams are expected to play in the East Coast Volleyball championships at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown, the culmination of a season spent traveling across the country.

"During the season, they travel all over -- from Texas and the Midwest to down South," said Tom Kilian, event coordinator.

Forty Canadian teams will compete.

"That's nice for our event," Kilian said. "It's not like they're playing the same teams that they have all year."

Local colleges benefit from the tournament, he said, in that these players who soon will be college-hunting are exposed to the city.

"This experience may turn into a choice to relocate and educate themselves in Pittsburgh," Kilian said.

This will be the fifth time the East Coast championships have been to Pittsburgh.

"There's stuff in the city for the kids to do. It's a nice convention center, and it's a nice area for them to do stuff outside of playing," Kilian said.

"The best kind of business for us is repeat business," Davis said.

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