MEMPHIS GOING AFTER TOURNEYS 

MEMPHIS GOING AFTER TOURNEYS

The Sports Authority and the Memphis Grizzlies have delivered on their promise to give a hand to prep sports in Memphis. The Sports Authority announced this week it is confident Memphis will land Spring Fling, the annual spring sportsfest for Tennessee public and private schools. The event has been held in Middle Tennessee or Chattanooga every year even though Memphis boys and girls have won numerous state championships in baseball, softball, tennis, and track. Tiffany Brown, managing director of the Sports Authority, said it also will go after the state basketball tournament now held in Murfreesboro. She said it had not been held in Memphis for more than 30 years. The city and county are allowing free use of the Mid-South Coliseum this year for basketball games in the city championship and regional tournament, "laying the groundwork for us to go after the state tournament," she said. In addition to being a neutral court, the Coliseum will accomodate much bigger crowds than any of the high school gyms and should give the participating schools a pay day of about $6,000 instead of less than $2,000, Brown said. The deadline to make a bid to the Tennessee Secondary Sports Athletic Association (TSSAA) for Spring Fling 2003 is April 1. "We're going to give them a bid they can't refuse," said Brown, adding that the Grizzlies have pledged to sweeten it. The package will include hotel rooms, gate receipts, and up to $100,000 to help with travel costs and other expenses. Proposed venues will include the Racquet Club of Memphis, AutoZone Park, Christian Brothers High School and other schools and sports complexes. The Sports Authority is organizing the effort along with the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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