MLS: Spring training win for Bradenton
By now, many of you may have read that IMG Academy has become the East Coast hub for preseason Major League Soccer that is currently underway in our community.
The teams that are training in our backyard are: New England Revolution, Toronto FC, DC United, Columbus Crew, Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, as well as the USL's Orlando City Lions, a future MLS team in 2015. And we also have Malmo FF from Sweden training here and playing the MLS teams in preseason games at the IMG stadium. Go to imgacademy.com/mls for preseason game information.
For all of you soccer fans, and anyone who is curious to learn more about the game, this is a unique opportunity to see many of the top soccer athletes in the world, an opportunity that no other destination can offer in Florida. We also need to rally as a community to show the major league teams top-notch hospitality so IMG Academy can remain the east coast training hub for many years to come.
Being known as the pre-season east coast hub for Major League Soccer will generate marketplace impressions about the Bradenton Area that will no doubt stimulate more opportunities for our area. As you may know, tourism is an economic engine for our community, and we must continue to look to diversify our tourism- related programs so we continue to see a steady influx of new dollars on a year-round basis. This consistent stream of business will help our retail businesses thrive, resulting in job growth and real estate appreciation -- all important to enhancing the quality of life for our residents.
We ask you to please join us and embrace this opportunity by attending the pre-season games that will allow you to enjoy a setting that is intimate and non-traditional.
How awesome it will be to go from preseason soccer to spring training baseball, all in one community.
Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, can be reached at Elliott.Falcione@BACVB.com or 941-729-9177, ext. 222.