New Sports Funding Bodes Well for Sarasota Florida Home Market


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, May, 10, 2013 – The Florida legislature recently approved two multimillion-dollar budget allocations which add further momentum to the growth of the Manatee–Sarasota MSA as a sports tourism destination reports Sarasota Bay Real Estate. Besides diversifying the area’s attractions to tourists, local tourism officials also view such initiatives as invaluable in beefing up efforts to showcase Sarasota homes for sale to potential home buyers.

The state budget passed by the Florida House and Senate this April included a $5 million allocation for the rowing facility at Nathan Benderson Park which is currently being upgraded to meet international standards. The facility’s makeover is pivotal to the joint efforts of Manatee and Sarasota to host the 130-country 2017 World Rowing Championship, a paddlers’ event next only in magnitude to the sports discipline’s in the Olympics.

Strong message to FISA world rowing body


Up against Bulgaria for the hosting, local and national rowing officials are elated with the support the state legislators are extending. With the state allocation, the international FISA governing body which is reviewing the championship hosting bids should realize by now that “we’re in this to win it,” Paul Blackketter, chief operating officer of SunCoast Aquatic Nature Center Association, the nonprofit which manages rowing facilities in Sarasota and Manatee counties, was quoted as saying.

Blackketter, also project manager for Benderson Development Co., owner-developer of the proposed world rowing championship venue, also revealed earlier that the center’s transition as a world-class rowing facility is some six months ahead of schedule.

Added vigor for IMG Academy expansion

Separately, a $2.3 million allocation has also been earmarked for the IMG Academy, a sprawling hub for sports training in west Bradenton, Manatee County. This state funding is expected to further invigorate the academy’s ongoing five-year expansion program. Its components include a state-of-the-art multisports stadium, student dormitories, a field house and a research center.

IMG Academy’s programs cover various sports disciplines, among which are tennis, soccer, baseball, football, basketball, lacrosse, and track and field and cross country. It also offers adult training programs including those for tennis and golf, as well as courses in pro and team training. It also organizes corporate and executive retreats, besides hosting local, national, and international sports tournaments.

Soccerfest at Lakewood Ranch


In recent years, Manatee-Sarasota already hosted several major sports events, thus giving the county and its property market broader exposure. One of these extravaganzas was the 2012 Nike International Friendlies soccer tournament. Held at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch on November 27-December 4 last year, the soccerfest, according to one estimate, drew over 21,000 athletes and visitors, and generated incremental revenue of $11.3 million for the area’s various businesses. This tournament drew a total of 176 participating teams, with all but 10 coming from outside the Sunshine State.

Notably, various other events can be accommodated at the Lakewood Ranch sports campus with its 22 fields seeded with prime Celebration grass. It can accommodate not only soccer tournaments but also lacrosse, rugby, field hockey, and archery. It’s can likewise host senior games, Special Olympics, Ultimate Frisbee, youth football, flag football, punt/pass/kick football and Frisbee golf.