Red Sox, Twins draw record number of fans during Spring Training 2016

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Florida’s Spring Training Baseball reached a record high per game attendance this season, with the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins ranking No. 2 and No. 3 respectively, for largest crowds during the 2016 Major League Baseball Spring Training Games. Florida hosts 15 Florida Grapefruit League teams, and Lee County is the Spring Training home to the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park and the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink Sports Complex.

In 2016, the Boston Red Sox played 15 games at JetBlue Park with a total attendance of 149,397, with an average of 9,960 attendees per game. The largest crowd tallied 10,103 on March 10, when the Red Sox played the Minnesota Twins.

At Hammond Stadium at the CenturyLink Sports Complex, the Minnesota Twins also played 15 games in 2016, and the total attendance was 121,005, with an average per game of 8,067 attendees. Their largest crowd peaked at 9,109, when the Twins took on the New York Yankees on Sunday, March 20.

Attendance figures are compiled by the Florida Sports Foundation from daily box scores of games, between Major League teams played in the State of Florida, and verified by each of the 15 teams in the Florida Grapefruit League.

The estimated total economic impact for the Red Sox and Twins spring training seasons in Lee County is $48 million annually. That’s according to a 2009 study, the most recent for which such Lee County data is available.

Lee County Sports Development was created in 2003 to meet the growing demand for sports development in Lee County, and is recognized by the Florida Sports Foundation as one of the state’s 25 Regional Sports Commissions. The Lee County Sports Development office leads the recruitment and implementation of amateur and professional sports events and activities in Lee County, with the goal of providing economic impact to Lee County. Through local partnerships with Lee County Parks & Recreation and others, the Lee County Sports Development office provides services designed to address the needs of local, national and international sports entities including housing, access to venues, event management, transportation assistance, event promotion, marketing and local sponsorship opportunities. For more information, call 239-533-5273 or visit www.leegov.com/sports.

Florida High School Baseball State Championships to Remain in Lee County through 2018

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The Florida High School Athletic Association and Lee County have agreed on a three-year extension for Lee County to continue serving as the host for the Florida High School Baseball State Championships.

“Some of the premier high school baseball players, coaches and teams in the nation are on display during the Florida High School Baseball State Championships and partnering with Lee County guarantees us an elite facility for this event,” said FHSAA Executive Director Dr. Roger Dearing. “It’s been a pleasure to work with the representatives of Lee County Sports Development and Lee County Sports and Recreation during the past three years and we look forward to continuing the relationship.”

The 2016 state baseball tournament is slated for May 11-14 and May 18-21 at jetBlue Park and will consist of four-team single-elimination competition in nine classifications. All state championship games will be televised on Bright House Sports Network in a two-game session at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on May 12, May 14 and May 19 with a three-game session on May 21 scheduled for 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The state semifinal contests will be broadcast via the NFHS Network in four-game sessions listed at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on May 11, May 13, May 18 and May 20, one two-game session on May 19 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. All times are EST.

“The return of the Florida High School Baseball State Championships is a huge win for our community,” said Jeff Mielke, executive director of Lee County Sports Development. “We’re grateful and honored that the FHSAA selected Lee County to once again host the state tournament for an additional three years. Their decision truly reflects the confidence and long-standing relationships that we’ve built as well as the service we provide to the Association, players, coaches and families. We look forward to continuing to provide the players and coaches with the opportunity to play in a top-notch, professional setting and to provide and great fan experience for guests.”

Free admission, public invited to attend Perfect Game 2015 National Showcase June 17-22, top scouting event for professional baseball

Lee County Sports Development Logo

Major League Baseball to broadcast Saturday, June 20 game from JetBlue Park

Lee County will host the Perfect Game 2015 National Showcase from June 17-22 at the JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. The event is free and open to the public. Perfect Game National Showcase, sponsored by Nike, is one of the premier scouting events for young players in amateur baseball. More than 1,600 players who have attended past events have gone on to be selected in Major League Baseball amateur player drafts.

On Saturday, June 20 at 1 p.m., Major League Baseball’s MLB.com will record the game for broadcast on MLB.com on Sunday, June 21 at 8 p.m. EST.

Lee County anticipates approximately 500 college and professional scouts and the nation’s top professional sports agents to be present during the showcase. The top 50 players at the Perfect Game National Showcase will be selected to play in the Perfect Game All-American Classic at Petco Park in San Diego on Aug. 16.

The National Showcase features 320 incoming high school seniors, June 17-22. This event is estimated to generate $725,000 in direct economic impact, $8,910 in resort tax and will fill approximately 1,800 hotel rooms.

“The National Showcase is a great opportunity for fans to come out and watch some of the most talented up-and-coming players in baseball,” said Jeff Mielke, executive director of Lee County Sports Development. “This is one of the most heavily followed tournaments by college coaches and scouts, and players looking for the highest level of exposure. In addition, this event brings a large number of visitors to Lee County and we are excited to see the positive economic impact that the 2015 Showcase will bring.”

Game and practice times vary. For more information, visit Perfect Game at www.perfectgame.org.

About Lee County Sports Development

Created in 2003 to meet the growing demand for sports development in Lee County, the Lee County Sports Development office is recognized by the Florida Sports Foundation as one of the state’s 25 Regional Sports Commissions. The Lee County Sports Development office leads the recruitment and implementation of amateur and professional sports events and activities in Lee County, with the goal of providing economic impact to Lee County. Through local partnerships the Lee County Sports Development office provides services designed to address the needs of local, national and international sports entities including housing, access to venues, event management, transportation assistance, event promotion, marketing and local sponsorship opportunities. For more information, call 239-533-LCSD (5273) or visit www.LeeCountySports.org.

Lee County hosts 25th annual Roy Hobbs World Series Oct. 26 – Nov. 23

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – PHOTO ATTACHED

Photo courtesy of Roy Hobbs/Greg Wagner: Vinnie Troncaso of Stars of Herrera (Dominican Republic) celebrates winning the 38+ AAAA Division Championship during the Roy Hobbs World Series 2012 in Fort Myers.

Lee County hosts 25th annual Roy Hobbs World Series Oct. 26 – Nov. 23
Amateur baseball tournament generates more than $12 million in economic impact for Lee County

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Oct. 7, 2013) – Baseball players from around the world will converge on Lee County for the 25th Roy Hobbs World Series Oct. 26 – Nov. 23. Over the course of this four-week annual tournament, nearly 4,000 adult, amateur baseball players will take the fields in Lee County’s five county-owned complexes which include the Lee County Sports Complex, Terry Park, City of Palms Park, JetBlue Park and the Lee County Player Development Complex.

Last year’s tournament brought in more than $12,206,000 to Lee County over the course of 28 days according to Jeff Mielke, executive director, Lee County Sports Development.

“The Roy Hobbs tournament is a grand slam for tourism,” said Mielke. “Lee County will welcome more than 230 teams this year totaling almost 4,000 players as well as their families. In addition to traveling and staying in local hotels, these visitors will spend money at local restaurants, shops and entertainment venues during their stay. This is one of the largest amateur sporting events in the country, and a big win for Lee County’s tourism industry.”

Operated by Lee County Parks and Recreation, Lee County’s five county-owned baseball complexes play host to more than 200 days of amateur baseball tournaments a year when they aren’t being used for spring training games. The estimated economic impact of these events is $50 million annually.

Named after fictional baseball hero Roy Hobbs as depicted in the book, “The Natural,” by Bernard Malmud, the Roy Hobbs Baseball’s annual World Series in Fort Myers has grown from 54 teams in 1993 to an expected 230 this fall. The tournament has expanded to include amateur player divisions for men and women ages 18 and up, with divisions up to ages 75 and older.

“When we accepted Lee County’s invitation to move the Roy Hobbs World Series to Fort Myers in 1993, we had no idea how things would turn out,” said Roy Hobbs President Tom Giffen. “But this year is Roy Hobbs 25th anniversary, our 21st year in Lee County, so I believe it has turned out very well for all concerned.”

“We are most pleased to be celebrating this milestone anniversary in a community that has been incredibly welcoming and provided great venues, professional services from grounds crews to hotels to vendor services, and amazing hospitality. Ellen (my wife) and I and Roy Hobbs are proud to call Lee County home,” Giffen added.

About Lee County Sports Development
Created in 2003 to meet the growing demand for sports development in Lee County, the Lee County Sports Development office is recognized by the Florida Sports Foundation as one of the state’s 25 Regional Sports Commissions. The Lee County Sports Development office leads the recruitment and implementation of amateur and professional sports events and activities in Lee County, with the goal of providing economic impact to Lee County. Through local partnerships the Lee County Sports Development office provides services designed to address the needs of local, national and international sports entities including housing, access to venues, event management, transportation assistance, event promotion, marketing and local sponsorship opportunities. For more information, call 239-344-5201or visit www.leeparks.org.

Media Contacts:
Betsy Clayton, Lee County Communications Director, bclayton@leegov.com, 239-826-4606
Holly Boldrin, Priority Marketing, holly@prioritymarketing.com, 239-267-2638/239-887-9335
Teri Hansen, Priority Marketing, teri@prioritymarketing.com, 239-267-2638 / 239-849-3300 cell