© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Big Economic Boost Expected From 3-On-3 Basketball Event


     What is being billed as the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament on the East Coast is planned in western Massachusetts next summer.  It is projected to have a big economic impact. 

    Modeled after an event that has been held annually for 29 years in Spokane, Washington, “Hooplandia” will be co-hosted by the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

   The tournament scheduled for June 26-28, which organizers say will feature hundreds of games for thousands of players, is projected to have a $12 million impact on the local economy through spending on such things as hotel rooms and restaurant meals, according to Mary Kay Wydra, president of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.

  "Its a big number for our region," said Wydra.

   By contrast, when Springfield hosted the AHL All Star Classic for a weekend last January it pumped $2.8 million into the local economy, according to Wydra.

   She said Hooplandia will also present branding and marketing opportunities for local businesses.

  "We think there is a lot of opportunity to be creative," said Wydra.

  The 3-on-3 tournament games and skills competitions will be held on outdoor blacktop courts at the fairgrounds in West Springfield with “showcase games” at the Big E Coliseum and at center court of the hall of fame.

  Eastern States Exposition CEO Gene Cassidy said the fairgrounds is an ideal venue because of its existing infrastructure that can handle large crowds.

"Our mission is to charge up the economy here in greater Springfield and this is an exciting event," said Cassidy.

The timing of the event is fortuitous, said hall of fame CEO John Doleva, because 3-on-3 basketball debuts as an Olympic sport in 2020.

" Once (the Olympics) gets the visibility of 3-on-3's back on the table that a real growth opportunity," said Doleva.

Hooplandia organizer Mark Rivers said there will be games for players of all ages and abilities.

" We will have pro players, international players, elite high school and college players, wheelchair athletes, Special Olymic athletes, first responder divisions, veterans divisions, and much more," Rivers said at a press conference Thursday at the basketball hall of fame.

There is a registration fee for teams.  Admission for spectators is free.  The weekend will also include a film festival featuring basketball movies.

Hooplandia may not be the only new sporting event coming to western Massachusetts next summer.

Tim Mayotte, considered the best tennis professional to ever come from New England, said he wants to bring a women’s professional tournament to his native Springfield next summer.

"My passion is to continue to spred tennis and get tennis back to where it was when I was growing up and my brother and I were playing on the pro tour and the first step is to get kids to see, and also adults, to see professional tennis up close," said Mayotte.

  Mayotte met this week with Mayor Domenic Sarno, who endorsed the idea.

  "When it was brought to my attention, I thought it would be great," said Sarno.

  Sarno said his administration will work with the Western Massachusetts Sports Commission to arrange venues and other logistics for the tournament.


The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
Related Content