Press release: The Florida Sports Foundation (FSF) recently honored Executive Director Ray Palmer and the Pensacola Sports Association (PSA) with a 2015 Florida Sports Leadership Award. The organization was recognized for its commitment to enhancing the Pensacola sports scene, for promoting health, fitness and sportsmanship, and for growing sports tourism in the Pensacola Bay Area.
Florida Sports Foundation President John Webb made a special trip to Pensacola to attend the PSA’s monthly board meeting, during which he made a brief announcement and informed the board and Ray Palmer of the recognition.
“The Pensacola Sports Association has a long heritage of hosting a variety of amateur, leisure and collegiate sports in the Panhandle of Florida,” said Webb. “Over the years, their sports tourism events have brought in a significant number of out-of-state visitors from the Gulf Coast and the Southeast to enhance the quality of life of those living in Northwest Florida. Because of the professional efforts of Ray and the PSA staff, the area will continue to experience sports tourism growth.”
Florida Sports Foundation, a Division of Enterprise Florida, is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to assist Florida communities with securing, hosting and retaining sporting events and sports-related business in order to generate a significant economic impact. The FSF supports 27 sports commissions throughout the state. The foundation awards leadership recognition once a year to a director and commission based on its ongoing success in the sports tourism industry.
“Florida is where the world comes to play. Sports and recreation spending is responsible for $44.4 billion in economic output,” said Palmer. “The directors and staff of the 27 sports commissions in this state are some of the most highly-respected names in the entire industry. For the Pensacola Sports Association to be recognized with this award by the Governor of Florida and the Florida Sports Foundation, it is truly an honor second to none,” he added.
Visit Pensacola President Steve Hayes agrees that the impact PSA has on the tourism industry is a significant one. “This honor is certainly well deserved,” said Hayes. “With each event that PSA brings to the Pensacola Bay Area, a new group of people is introduced to our beautiful destination. When they plan their vacations, we hope they remember the great time they had here in Pensacola.”
The PSA has a full line-up of sports tourism events in the fall including the Pensacola Marathon Presented by Publix (Nov. 8), FCSAA State Volleyball Championship (Nov. 4-8), Pensacola Futures USTA Tennis Championship (Nov. 12-22), NCAA DII National Soccer Championships (Dec. 2-5) and NIRSA Flag Football National Championship (Jan. 1-3). Other sports tourism events include youth soccer, ice hockey, equestrian, and senior softball. A full listing of PSA and other sporting events can be found at www.pensacolasports.com.