Should anyone need additional evidence of the strength of the region's sports industry, that came this week.
IMG Academy is hosting soccer teams from numerous states and Canada -- 116 total in both boys and girls sides -- for the second consecutive year. This year, the 2013 United Soccer Leagues Super Y-League North American Finals also attracted representatives from 40 colleges scouting potential recruits.
The overall economic impact on local businesses should be considerable.
This week IMG is also hosting its annual Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Tournament, another bonanza for Manatee County.
All these visitors fill our hotels and restaurants -- and become acquainted with our beaches and other wonders, maybe extending their stay here or developing plans to return on vacation. The exposure is priceless.
This growth industry will enjoy another surge in October 2014 with the Dragon Boat Festival at Nathan Benderson Park. Some 3,000 women will be competing with the expectation that 8,000 hotel room nights will be booked. Anyone who has witnessed colorful dragon boats will be thrilled, too.
Plus, Benderson Park will host four major pentathlon events, including World Cup Finals in 2014 and 2016. That announcement came earlier this month.
The region's thriving tourism industry benefits mightily from the expanding sports sector and that will obviously continue.