Successful sports programs at USC are good for Cayce and West Columbia businesses, assistant athletics director tells Cayce-West Columbia Chamber crowd
“When the Gamecocks are winning, the people in Cayce and West Columba are making money,” said Tyson Lusk, USC’s Asst. Athletics Director for Development.
He told a packed house at Stone River that the local economy is positively affected by Gamecock sports.
Lusk was the speaker at the Greater Cayce-West Columbia Chamber Business meeting, Tuesday morning.
Lusk also said USC has recently solicited $35 million in donations to make improvements for USC athletics. He said $20 million has been spent on upgrades for fans at Williams-Brice Stadium. The stadium has new club-level space, a beer garden and a new west-side illuminated ribbon board for ads and information.
With fans coming to athletic events, they need lodging, food and gas. And those fans will spend money in Cayce and West Columbia because the two cities are so close to Williams-Brice Stadium, Founder’s Park and Colonial Life Arena, where the Gamecocks play football, baseball and basketball. Lusk said 60 percent of USC season ticket-holders come from out-of-town.
“USC brings people to this community,” said Tim James C-WC Chamber president, echoing Lusk. In addition to sports fans, James said students cross the (Congaree) river every day to do business in Cayce and West Columbia. Lusk also said the USC football team stays at the DoubleTree Inn in Lexington County the Friday night before home games.
The Cayce-West Columbia area is also filled with USC fans, supporters and contributors, said Lusk, and USC makes an effort to hire local businesses whenever possible. At least four USC coaches live in West Columbia, including Dawn Staley, USC Women’s Basketball and Lamont Paris, Men’s Basketball.
As for future plans for USC, Lusk said USC owns 800-to-900 undeveloped acres around Williams-Brice Stadium, Founders Park and Colonial Life Arena. USC is now soliciting ideas regarding the best and most-creative ways to develop that property.