700 Rugby Players Coming to Danville - WSET.com - ABC13

700 Rugby Players Coming to Danville

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Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: RJ Burnette

Danville, VA -- Hundreds of rugby players will be in Danville this weekend for the MBA World Championship. The crowd certainly helps the local economy, and members of the Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce say the long-term effects of the tournament are very important. 

Last year six different countries were represented at the tournament, and again they expect people from all over the U.S. and the world. They are all different ages, and they also have all women's teams.

It's a game not many people in Danville know how to play, but locals sure feel the effects when 700 rugby players come to town.

"I think it is very important. Anytime when you can bring a large group of people into the area, everyone benefits," said Jeff Belton, owner Just J'Licious.

Belton knows first hand his catering business turns into a full service food vendor racking up $2,500 in sales in two days.

"It helps my business, and I'm always thankful for my events, but this one is a good one," said Belton.

Danville hotels look forward to selling out three weekends each year the other two are for NASCAR.

"We are already sold out for this weekend so it's going to be extremely busy," said Jennifer Bowden, the assistant manager at Comfort Inn.

The Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce sees the bigger picture.

"We look at it too as the benefit that if we can just get one player to come back and start a business here, it will have been a success," said Laurie Moran, president of the chamber.

So the field is getting finishing touches, and businesses are gearing up.

"They will bring in bleachers, port-a-johns, and try to get the traffic control. A lot of the work happens this week. You'll see a lot of the physical work. But we started the planning process for the tournament almost after last year's tournament was over last year," said Moran.

"Oh I'm ready! Can we start today?" said Belton.

The tournament is hosted by Duke. They have picked Anglers Park in Danville for the past several years to play because it has a field that can be used in all weather conditions.

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