Tourism Leaders in Favor of Stadium’s USSSA Deal
Space Coast tourism officials are excited with Brevard County’s plan to convert the Space Coast Stadium complex in Viera to an amateur sports complex. According to the officials, the $10 million investment from the county’s 5% tax on hotels and short-term rentals contribute big dividends for restaurants, hotels and retailers.
The tourism community showed a unified decision while discussing financial commitments during Wednesday’s Brevard County Commission meeting and Thursday’s Brevard County Tourist Development Council meeting.
On Wednesday, county commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) under the condition where the organization will relocate its national headquarters from Kissimmee to Viera. The county will work on formal contacts with the USSSA.
The sports organization promised it would use the Space Coast Stadium complex 175 days a year for various sports tournaments. They also added a guarantee of 75,000 nights of hotel room rental during its first year of operations. By its third year, the organization aims for 100,000 nights. With typical hotel rooms costing $100 a night, local hotels face a revenue of $10 million on room fees alone.
“I think you’ll find that the whole tourism community is behind this,” said Bob Baugher, a member of the Brevard County Tourist Development Council and owner of hotels in the Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral area. According to him, the youth and amateur sports are a “big business in this county”and will only get bigger with the USSSA.
David Spain, owner and operator of the Comfort inn & Suites in Cocoa Beach, said: “We know that amateur sports put heads in beds — absolutely. It is a fabulous piece of business for the people in the hotel industry. And it is great for the restaurants. It is great for the shops. Everybody in the community does well when the hotels do well, and amateur sports will really do it for us.”
The USSSA hopes to begin operating at Space Coast Stadium as early as fall 2016.
The sports complex upgrades include the addition of eight artificial-turf fields for youth basketball, lacrosse, softball and soccer teams. Another upgrade is proper lighting for night games.
The hotel industry expects the USSSA youth team tournaments to bring better returns for the local tourism industry. Tourist development council chair Laurilee Thompson of Mim said of the USSSA’s presence in Viera: “It will make a statement for Brevard County as being a great family destination, in addition to the business it is going to bring.”
The planned move of the USSSA from Kissimee to Viera is expected to bring new professional sports teams to the Space Coast. According to their officials, they will also relocate the Florida Pride women’s fast-pitch softball to Viera.