The Orange Bowl Committee and Palm Beach County broke ground July 11 for a $3 million renovation of the existing football stadium and field at Glades Pioneer Park in Belle Glade, Fla.
The new field will be called Orange Bowl Field at Glades Pioneer Park. Renovations will include a synthetic turf field and maintenance, an electronic scoreboard, an entry monument, fencing, walkways and signage. The much-needed renovation of Glades Pioneer Park furthers the Orange Bowl’s commitment to youth sports in the South Florida community. The park serves as the playing site for several teams from the Glades Youth Football League, which is a current member of the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance (OBYFA). In addition, many current and former NFL players from the area have used the field to conduct youth football camps.
This is the Orange Bowl’s fifth Legacy Gift to the South Florida community and the first in Palm Beach County. Combined, Orange Bowl Legacy Gift projects have provided nearly $16 million worth of improvements toward the beautification of the South Florida community and recreational park activities for residents and their families.
“The Orange Bowl Committee is proud to add Glades Pioneer Park to our Legacy Gift portfolio of park renovations and specifically as our first in Palm Beach County,” said Sean Pittman, president and chair of the Orange Bowl Committee and a Palm Beach County native. “The County, and Belle Glade in particular, has a rich football history and tradition of raising superstar athletes who began their careers in the tri-cities. This park renovation is vitally needed to enable area youth the ability to carry on this incredible legacy and serve as Home base for the football legends who came before. If any area deserves a state-of-the-art stadium, it’s the Glades Community. The mission and vision of the Orange Bowl Committee is to inspire youth, engage our community and enhance South Florida and the new Orange Bowl Field at Glades Pioneer Park will accomplish that and exceed expectations.”
The Orange Bowl first unveiled the Legacy Gift initiative in 2008-09 in honor of the organization’s 75th anniversary, which also coincided with the hosting of the 2009 BCS National Championship. In January 2011, the Orange Bowl, along with the City of Miami, cut the ribbon onOrange Bowl Field at Moore Park. In 2013, the Orange Bowl, in conjunction with the City of Fort Lauderdale, renovated Joseph C. Carter Park in Fort Lauderdale. In 2014, the Orange Bowl, and Miami-Dade County, unveiled the new Orange Bowl Field at Ives Estates Park. Most recently, in 2016, the Orange Bowl, in conjunction with the City of Homestead, unveiled the Orange Bowl Field at Harris Field Park.
“We’re very excited and grateful that the Orange Bowl Committee has selected Palm Beach County and Glades Pioneer Park as recipient of the Orange Bowl Legacy Gift for 2018,” said Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay. “The new Orange Bowl Field will allow for greater recreation programming and enhance the sense of community for residents of the Glades area.”
Legacy Gifts are one of the four pillars of Orange Bowl Community Outreach, which also includes fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and youth sports. For nearly 85 years, the Orange Bowl has been one of South Florida’s leading civic organizations, promoting championship sporting events, related premier entertainment and other year-round activities to inspire youth, engage our community and enhance the South Florida economy.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) Boy's 18 & 16 National Clay Court Championships took place at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, Delray Swim & Tennis Club, The Club at Boca Pointe, Broken Sound Country Club, Boca West Country Club, Hunter’s Run Country Club and Woodfield Country Club from July 15-22.
This event is the highest level amateur tennis event in the United States. The draw consisted of more than 450 of the highest-ranked players in the nation, competing in singles, and doubles competition.
The USTA Boy's 18 & 16 National Clay Court Championships has a 52-year history, and has taken place in Palm Beach County for the past eleven (11) years. Past participants that have played USTA National events include Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, and Michael Chang.
The winner of the Boy's 18 Singles Division received a Qualifying Wildcard into the Delray Beach Open (ATP World Event). The USTA also awarded the 18's Singles Champion a Singles Main Draw Wildcard at the US Open Juniors, and a Main Draw Wildcard into a Futures Event. The 16's Singles Champion received a Singles Main Draw Wildcard at a USTA Men's Future Event (players must be age eligible).
Over 70 NCAA collegiate coaches were in attendance to scout the 450 youth tennis players. In addition to the coaches and athletes, nearly 900 spectators (family and coaches) traveled with the athletes.
The USTA Boy's 18 & 16 National Clay Court Championships is the largest amateur tennis tournament taking place annually in The Palm Beaches. The event was televised on Fox Sports Network and created an enormous tourism impact. Last year, this event produced over 2,700 hotel room nights, and $1.9 million in economic impact. Room night production has grown by more than 100% over the last five (5) years.
The Florida Sports Foundation announced that the 2018 Florida Grapefruit League generated an economic impact of $687.1 million for the State of Florida. The Florida Grapefruit League takes place annually during the Major League Baseball (MLB) Spring Training season and features 15 MLB teams in 12 cities.
The 2018 Florida Spring Training Economic Impact Study was completed by Tallahassee-based Downs & St. Germain Research to determine the Grapefruit League’s overall economic impact, including number of attendees, jobs created, and the overall associated wages for employees.
Governor Rick Scott said, “Each year, fans from around the world come to Florida to enjoy spring training. With incredible experiences, like spring training, happening in Florida, our tourism industry continues to break records. I encourage everyone who came to Florida for spring training this year to make plans to come back next year. Those who have never been to spring training in the Sunshine State, should make this unique experience a priority for next year.”
Angela A. Suggs, President and CEO of the Florida Sports Foundation said, “The Sunshine State offers exceptional opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy the national pastime of Spring Training. We are pleased with the continued success of the Florida Grapefruit League and look forward to many more exciting opportunities to showcase the many communities in Florida, where the world comes to play.”
The study showed a 61 percent increase from the adjusted total of the last study completed in 2009. The new methodology accounted for fans who attended multiple games during Spring Training not previously included in the 2009 study. Approximately 1,500 of the 1,497,306 attended fans were surveyed to generate the League’s economic impact and fan spending throughout the 13 Spring Training ballparks. Fan spending data was collected during multiple games at all 15 Florida Spring Training teams’ games between February 23 and March 27.
A key finding of the survey showed that of the averaged total of 6,318 fans per game, 70 percent were from outside of the host teams’ local markets (52 percent out of state; 18 percent out of county). Those fans generated nearly $584 million in economic impact. In this survey, non-local fans are categorized as individuals who were not residents of the counties in which the 13 ballparks are located.
Downs & St. Germain’s findings also showed that 7,152 jobs are created annually by Florida Spring Training, accounting for $253.5 million in wages. Fans attending games were responsible for 355,590 paid accommodation room nights at Florida-based lodging destinations. In total, fans attended an average of 2.9 games.
The Sunshine State’s annual MLB Spring Training continues to connect with fans throughout Florida and the country as those who surveyed gave their experience in Florida an average 9.3 rating on a 10-point scale. Eighty-six percent of fans are making plans to return for the 2019 Florida Spring Training season.
Florida Spring Training dates back to the late 1800s. Under the leadership of former St. Petersburg Mayor Al Lang, four teams were recruited to play in the greater St. Petersburg area for pre-season workouts and eventually grew to nine of the MLB’s then 12 teams in 1925. The number of participating teams in the Grapefruit League has since grown to 15 of MLB’s 30 teams. Since that time, over 50 Florida communities have hosted MLB Spring Training and eight teams have held their spring training in Florida communities for over 70 years. Since 2000, nearly 30 million fans have attended MLB Spring Training games in Florida.
Highlights from Florida’s MLB Spring training in 2018 included: