There's fresh evidence of the region's muscular ability to boost the economy via a growing sports industry.
These are the reports just in the past week:
Bass Pro Shops confirmed the site for a store in Sarasota. While we don't get the giant Outdoor World version the smaller Outpost version will still become an instant destination for anglers from around the region -- and improve our already strong recreational fishing reputation.
Nathan Benderson Park will host the 2014 IBCPC Participatory Dragon Boat Festival this October, attracting 3,000 registrants with 7,000 hotel room nights booked. Some 105 teams from a dozen countries will be competing, including the Manatee-Sarasota breast cancer survivor team known as Survivors In Sync.
The revenue figure is in: The 2014 Modern Pentathlon at the Sarasota Polo Club and Selby Aquatic Center in June raked in almost $1.9 million, according to an economic impact calculator. About 750 out-of-state and international visitors and Olympians came for this first-time event. The region will host two more pentathlon events in 2015 and the 2016 World Cup Finals, most promising.
IMG Academy continues to grow its Bradenton sports empire, purchasing another 24 acres to add six fields to join the existing 15. This is just the latest phase in a $198 million expansion project. The global sports performance juggernaut debuted a $5.4 million fieldhouse in June, and construction has started on a residence hall and other student facilities.
This remarkable burst of activity adds to the value of the region's sports industry, diversifies tourism and spreads revenue beyond the beaches.