Hosting the presidential primary debates this month put few more heads in beds during the beach's slow season, but the real dividends came in the media coverage, city and tourism officials said.
CNN and Fox News said the city's name often, with Fox's Sean Hannity calling it "beautiful Myrtle Beach, just 72 degrees here tonight."
Most of the more than 100 newspapers and TV stations across the world that mentioned the debates gave the city just that: a mention.
Only a handful went further, with South Carolina papers leading the way.
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce estimated the coverage of the Republican debate was worth more than $5.75 million. Figures for the Democratic debate are not yet available.
By Jan. 23, traffic to the chamber's Web site was up 207 percent over January last year, and vacation planner orders were up 434 percent - though the chamber's non-debate-related advertising could have helped that increase.
The debates sparked an extra 67,160 free vacation planner orders and an additional 278,500 Web sessions, the chamber estimated.
The community likely spent $1.5 million to produce the debates, with about $1.25 million coming from companies donating goods, services or money, chamber President Brad Dean said. The remainder came from the city.
The Mount Myrtle sand sculptures got the most extensive coverage. Papers as far as Australia mentioned or showed pictures of the Mount Rushmore-style sculptures, which featured the candidates' heads and were paid for by local businesses.
Online, The Wall Street Journal's site mentioned the sculpture, and TMZ.com, a celebrity gossip Web site with 10.8 million unique visitors monthly, also posted a picture and short story about it.
Even their destruction brought publicity. Comedian Stephen Colbert Thursday featured the Democratic sculpture being destroyed.
The media also picked up that Myrtle Beach would, coincidentally, recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year for the first time. The New York Times ran a short story, and USA Today and The Washington Post mentioned it.
Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes got a plug in the Post:
"We're the number two family resort in America," he told the paper. "The Grand Strand has the finest beaches anywhere in America. We got roughly 2,000 places to eat. We welcome the opportunity to get national publicity, expose our community even more, let people know we're able to handle big events."