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Sports complex is a revenue generator for local economy

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 6:23 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Our beautiful beaches aren’t the only economic drivers in our area. Sports tourism is something that’s attracting folks from multiple states.

The Publix Sports Park is an especially big commodity for sports tourism in Panama City Beach.

“These events that anchor over the weekend, we call them anchor events,” Publix Sports Park General Manager Mike Higgins said. “We’ve got 48 of the 52 weekends in 2022 booked.”

The complex is a cash cow for the local economy.

“Our annual budget here is just over $1.5 million and we’re on track to break that this year,” Higgins said.

The Publix Sports Park and the Frank Brown Park are currently co-hosting the Grand Slam USA World Series of Baseball. Officials said around 210 teams are in town for the event.

“There are about 15 kids on a team,” Higgins said. “We know there are about 2.8 guests per player, so you kind of run those numbers and as you can see it’s a lot.”

Higgins also said the location is hard to beat.

“Our job here is populating the park,” Higgins said. “It’s built, it’s beautiful. We’re maintaining it and making it better and keeping it busy, so that’s what we really focus on here.”

The numbers speak for themselves, too. Staff from Visit Panama City Beach said the Publix Sports Park has brought in $170.4 million since 2019.

Higgins said he is looking forward to what the future holds for the complex.

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