18,000 people expected to attend largest tournament of the year at Florida sports complex

(Sarasota, FL) August 23, 2011 − Close to 300 teams from all over the state of Florida will descend on the Premier Sports Campus Labor Day weekend, September 3, 4 and 5, for the biggest tournament to date at the new complex in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. The Clearwater Chargers have joined forces with the Fusion Futbol Club to host the 2011 Labor Day Showcase for age groups including boys and girls U9-U10, U11-U12 and U13-U18.
Both clubs have held separate successful Labor Day Tournaments over the years, and are combining efforts for the first time, now that a big enough complex is available.

“The Premier Sports Campus offers us so many opportunities,” said Rob O’Nan, president of the Clearwater and Lakewood Ranch Chargers, the host soccer tenant at the campus. “With access to 30 fields for this event, we could not have done this anywhere else. The fields and the location are perfect,” said O’Nan.

More than 18,000 athletes and fans expected over the three-day period. “The economic impact that this campus will have over the next few years, with its sheer size and capacity to host hundreds of teams, is enormous,” said Jason Puckett, director of sports for the Sarasota County Sports Commission. “Last year, when 170 teams competed in this event at the Sarasota Polo Grounds, the tournament produced $2.5 million of economic impact, 1,232 room nights (based on hotel reporting) and 3,230 non-local competitors. With estimates of 300 teams for this year, the projected economic impact could be $4.1 million, 2,500 room nights and 4,750 non-local competitors. It’s huge for this area.”

Registration for the event will begin at 6 p.m. Friday at the Holiday Inn in Lakewood Ranch, and games begin at 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Play is expected to last until approximately 7 p.m each night.

The Premier Sports Campus, which opened in April of this year, has nine additional tournaments scheduled over the next 12 months and features sports ranging from soccer to lacrosse to Ultimate Frisbee. “The campus has just taken off,” said Tim Mulqueen, director of sports for Lakewood Ranch. “We are in the very beginning stages of what we know is the creation of a sports epicenter right here in Lakewood Ranch. You just can’t beat the quality of the fields, the number of fields in one place, and of course you just can’t beat the location.”

Immediately after the Labor Day tournament, Premier Sports Campus (PSC) at Lakewood Ranch will begin the $1.1 million installation of lighting for eight of its fields.

“The lights make us very unique in that we are the ONLY local facility that is privately owned that has playing fields with lights,” Mulqueen said. “We have clearly separated ourselves from the competition with the combination of some of the finest fields in the country, and lights on eight of these fields. We can now be host to at least nine national events – events that will be massive in terms of economic impact and exposure to the area that we could not have secured without lights.

“Our commitment to lighting the fields is generating recurrent business sufficient to justify the investment,” said Rex Jensen, president and CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, the parent company of PSC. “We knew that the Sports Campus would place us at the epicenter of field sports activity in the region, if not the state. This facility is the real deal in economic development. “ Lighting installation should be complete in early November.

Partial proceeds from team registrations from the Nike Cup event will go to The V Foundation and donation centers and information will be available onsite.

Special thanks to our Lakewood Ranch select builders who are sponsoring this tournament: Neal Communities, Cardel Homes, Homes By Towne, Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Minto Communities, and Paradise Homes.

The Premier Sports Campus
The Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch is a multi-purpose facility that is home to 22 full-sized, mixed-use fields for soccer, lacrosse and other amateur sports, and features Celebration grass and underground irrigation. The complex is used for amateur and professional top-flight and world-class sporting tournaments, events, camps and clinics and is located in Lakewood Ranch – the 8,500-acre, award-winning master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the West Coast of Florida.

Lakewood Ranch
The largest green-certified community in the US, Lakewood Ranch occupies 8,500 acres convenient to Sarasota and the Tampa Bay region. The master-planned community includes four golf courses, a country club and extensive recreational amenities, with housing options ranging from maintenance-free condominiums, single-family homes and estate-size properties. New home and lot packages begin in the low $200,000s.

Read More About Lakewood Ranch