By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- Vero Beach Sports Village's success directly translates into dollars for Indian River County, a new study shows.
The Treasure Coast Sports Commission completed an economic impact study on the effect of Vero Beach Sports Village on Indian River County and found that since December 2009, the facility has had an economic impact of $21.06 million.
The financial impact total was reached using a formula recommended by Visit Florida and Florida Sports, a division of Enterprise Florida and data gathered by Vero Beach Sports Village, the commission and local hotels, said Tom Colucci, executive director of the Treasure Coast Sports Commission.
"We see the Vero Beach Sports Village as a major sports village destination not only in Indian River County, but also on Florida's Treasure Coast," Mr. Colucci said.
Since 2009, the sports complex has hosted 132 events for a variety of sports and sports levels, including baseball, soccer, lacrosse, swimming and boxing.
In 2011 alone, the calculated economic impact was $6.22 million. That number increased to $9.4 million this year.
There are more economic dollars not accounted for in the report, such as revenue from gas tax and sales tax, but the numbers that are tabulated speak for themselves, he said.
Each year sports facility officials increase the amount of events they schedule and draw hundreds, perhaps thousands more to Vero Beach and the surrounding area.
Strengthening of the sports village business model by adding Peter O'Malley, former longtime owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and former Dodger pitchers Hideo Nomo and Chan Ho Park to its investors, has given the facility more national and international exposure.
Vero Beach Sports Village has hosted groups or teams from 35 states, Puerto Rico and six countries.
The addition of the youth baseball/softball fields and the multipurpose field for football, soccer and lacrosse players, will only serve to increase programming offered by the sports facility, Mr. Colucci said.
Without a major or minor league team in residence, the sports facility can offer its accommodations and training areas virtually 365 days a year.
"More events and more overnight stays mean more tourist dollars," he said.
The total number of trackable room nights since 2009 because of the sports facility are at 43,233. This is a conservative number because during spring training, when many college and high school teams come and go, the actual number of overnight stays by friends and family of the players is difficult to track, the report said.
Of the total room nights, 65 percent were at Vero Beach Sports Village and 35 percent were at area hotels.
The estimated total number of people who have participated or attended an event at the sports facility is estimated to be more than 48,000 since 2009.
Each person stays an average of three nights and use local hotels, restaurants, shopping and retail outlets and gas stations. These are usually people who would not have visited Indian River County if not for the sports event.
"We feel strongly that there are a percentage of visitors, having been exposed to our beautiful county and all that it has to offer, that will choose to return in the future for a non-sports visit/vacation," the report said.
The complex employs 24 full-time and more than 70 part-time or seasonal employees, and has contributed more than $70,000 in in-kind donations to 25 county charities.
For more information about Vero Beach Sports Village, visit www.vbsportsvillage.com.