While overall Florida tourism visitor numbers are nearing 100 million annually, a recent Economic Impact of Sports survey showed that 13.3 million visitors came to the state of Florida for the sole purpose of sports and recreation.
The report compiled by the University of West Florida’s Haas Center showed that sports and recreation was responsible for $44.4 billion in total economic output, or roughly 3.5% of the state‘s Gross State Product.
The Sports and Recreation industry also supports over 431,000 jobs and contributes more than $16 billion in labor income to Floridians.
“Florida continues to be a leader in the sports industry,” said Florida Sports Foundation President John Webb. “This state has the advantage of being able to host sports events on a year-round basis and with the professional efforts of the 26 sports commissions, there’s not a day during the year when a sporting event can’t be held.”
The survey showed Florida’s Sports Commissions hosted over 2,500 events attracting over 3.1 million sports tourists. On the professional sports front, the state of Florida can boast nearly 1,800 events annually generating $3.1 billion in economic impact.
Recreational sports also drive tourists to the state in droves. More than three million anglers participate in fishing and outdoor recreation and more than 1,100 golf courses statewide total more than 45 million rounds of golf played annually.
With an average daily temperature of 71 degrees, the State of Florida provides a perfect atmosphere for a variety of sporting and recreational activities. Whether it’s the nine major professional sports teams, a variety of college athletic programs competing on several different levels, or the 26 statewide sports commissions, Florida offers plenty of venues to host a wide variety of sporting events.
Being a peninsula state, Florida features thousands of miles of coastline on the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Within the peninsula, there are countless rivers, streams and swamps offering more opportunities to explore the state’s natural beauty.
All of these sports-related activities in communities around the state actively involve the citizens of that region, add value to social lives and build bridges between communities. Participating in sports in general has been found to increase mental health and promote discipline and teamwork.
The 2014 survey showed an increase of $8 billion from the previous survey compiled by the Florida Sports Foundation in 2005. CLICK HERE for a full copy of the 2014 survey in pdf format.
-Nick Gandy, Florida Sports Foundation
Click to find Central Florida’s Sports Comission, Polk County Sports Marketing: centralfloridasports.com.