The FSF presented six awards to recognize Florida communities and sports commissions for their outstanding efforts in sports tourism in the State of Florida. The awards were presented at the FSF’s annual Sports Summit, held May 25-26 in Palm Coast. The awards presented included:
Venue of the Year (Metropolitan Large Market): Ice Den, Coral Springs (formerly Incredible Ice) – Broward County Sports Development
Venue of the Year (Mid-size Market): Apalachee Regional Park, Tallahassee, Tallahassee Sports Council
Best Awarded Event of the Year: COPA America Centenario Soccer – Orlando City Soccer
Best Event of the Year – Small Market: Snowbird Baseball Classic – Charlotte Harbor CVB
Best Event of the Year – Mid Market: NCAA Men’s/Women’s Golf Championships, Bradenton Area Sports Commission
Best Event of the Year – Large Market: 2016 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, Tampa Bay Sports Commission
“Each of these awards were earned through the hard work of the sports commissions staffs who work tirelessly to enhance their local communities through sports,” said FSF President John Webb. “The 28 Florida Sports Commissions bring over 3,000 sporting events to the state annually and provide a significant impact to the Florida tourism industry and economy.”
A detailed description of the six awards follows.
Venue of the Year
Metropolitan Large Market – IceDen, Coral Springs (formerly Incredible Ice)
The 125,000 square foot facility occupies 11 acres of land and is the only triple ice skating facility south of Washington, DC. The IceDen is known for its creative programming, professional management and world class amenities. With over One Million visitors annually, the IceDen has generated in excess of $50 million annually. Operating 364 days a year, up to 20 hours per day, the facility promotes all ice sports (Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, Curling, in a non-traditional market year round and partners with the City of Coral Springs, Broward County CVB and the FSF to attract national and international events to the facility.
Mid-size Market – Apalachee Regional Park, Tallahassee
This uniquely redeveloped area has created an economic engine by establishing a sporting event destination that has allowed Leon County to host local, state and national cross country events, including NCAA Regional Championships, the Florida State Invitational, Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and the Florida High School Athletic Association State Championship. The “Landfill to Park Conversion,” redevelopment included a permanent stage, a power source, decorative fencing, landscaping, significant trail widening, an expanded spectator area and relocated/reconfigured parking areas. A study of Cross County events held between 2012 and 2014 showed over $6 million of direct visitor spending in the local economy.
Event of the Year
Large Market – 2016 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, April 7-9, 2016, Amalie Arena, Tampa
The NCAA Division I Men’s College Hockey Championship had a total attendance of over 55,000 fans for three games. The 19,358 fans at the championship game between North Dakota and Quinnipiac was the third highest attendance in the history of the Frozen Four. The event had an economic impact of over $11 million for the Tampa Bay Area while producing over 16,000 room nights. The event also produced nearly 300 million social media impressions.
Mid-Market – 2015 NCAA Men’s/Women’s Golf Championships, May 2-June 3, 2015, Concessions Golf Club, Bradenton
The two-week event was represented by 36 colleges with the first week featuring the women’s event followed by the men’s event, with many participants staying the entire two weeks. The Championships attracted an attendance of over 4,400 that produced over 14,000 room nights and an economic impact of more than $2.5 million. The event was televised on the Golf Channel with over 100 hours of coverage that created awareness for the Bradenton area and Concessions Golf Course.
Small Market – Snowbird Baseball Classic, February 23 – March 23, 2016, three Charlotte Harbor locations
This collegiate baseball event draws 100% of its teams from out of state with 25 NCAA Division I and 12 Division II schools competing over a four-week period in 2016. The Eighth Annual event generated approximately $5 million in direct expenditures and $10 million in economic impact, while producing over 6,500 room nights between teams, family members, alumni, groups/fans and media.
Best Awarded Event of the Year
COPA America Centenario Soccer, June 4-8, 2016, Orlando Citrus Bowl
Orlando’s Camping World Stadium will host three first round match-ups during the Copa America Centenario, starting on June 4. The first match-up will be Costa Rica vs. Paraguay on June 4, the second on June 6 will see Bolivia take on Panama, and the last match on June 8 will see Brazil take on Haiti. Orlando City SC, the Central Florida Sports Commission, City of Orlando and Orange County Government worked in partnership to bring the prestigious Latin American championship to the Camping World Stadium and to Central Florida, for the first time in its history. The tournament is expected to draw more than 40,000 room nights and $30 million in economic impact to Orange County.