IMG Academy opens new stadium with new football team on Saturday

Facility first phase of complex addition


IMG Academy Stadium will play host to its first Kickoff Classic at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when IMG tackles West Palm Beach Lakes Community at the southern Manatee facility. PROVIDED PHOTO


MANATEE -- The new IMG Academy football team will christen the sparkling IMG Academy Stadium on Saturday with its first game, a Kickoff Classic against West Palm Beach Lakes Community.

The multi-sport stadium is the first phase of development for IMG's west-campus expansion. It features a spacious plaza, a building with press and hospitality boxes, VIP suites, seating for 5,000 fans, TV-ready lighting and concession stands operated by Smoothie King.

While the stadium will be the home of the IMG Academy football team, the company hoopes to attract other regional and national sporting events and non-sporting events.

"The building of this stadium has truly been a community effort with support from the county and state, and a team of dedicated individuals working around the clock to complete this project in time for the start of our football season," said Chip McCarthy, IMG Performance's vice president of finance and operations, in a news release. "It's rewarding to see our vision come to life and know that this is only the beginning."

The game begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

The IMG team, coach by Heisman Tropy-winning quarterback Chris Weinke, features several Division I college prospects, most notably running back Bo Scarbrough, an Alabama commit, and quarterback Michael O'Connor, who is headed for Penn State.

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