Florida Sports Brings in $57 Billion 


The fiscal year of 2015-16 meant another bustling sports economy year to the Florida Sports economy bringing 16 million visitors, a $57.4 billion economic footprint and 580,000 jobs to the Sunshine State.

These numbers were determined by an economic impact survey of the Florida Sports Industry, compiled by Hexad Analytics, of Pensacola and commissioned by the Florida Sports Foundation, the state’s lead sports promotion and development organization.

The 16 million visitors coming to Florida for sports activities represent 15 percent of approximately 106 million non-resident visitors to Florida last year, according to Visit Florida.

The $57.4 billion in economic impact is divided into four categories, Amateur and Leisure Sports, Professional Sports, Collegiate Sports and the Equine Industry.

“The diversity of the sports industry in Florida makes it something closely watched by the nation’s sports leaders,” said John Webb, President of the Florida Sports Foundation. “Through the marketing and sales efforts of the professionals within the state’s 27 sports commissions, 10 professional teams, the support of the local communities in constructing state-of-the-art sports facilities and Florida’s temperate year round climate, it all combines for a thriving sports industry.”

The Amateur and Leisure sports industry accounts for the bulk of total non-resident visitors associated with the Florida Sports Industry. It is composed of six segments — Parks and Recreation, Golf, Hunting, Fishing, Wildlife Watching and events of the Florida Sports Foundation and the state’s 27 sports commissions. These six segments generate the largest economic footprint of the survey at $43.4 billion and 443,000 jobs.

The Professional Sports segment includes Florida’s 10 major league sports teams playing in the five major sports leagues (Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, National Basketball Association, National Football League and National Hockey League), NASCAR and other auto racing entities, Professional Tennis, the 15 teams holding their Major League Baseball Spring Training in Florida, 12 Minor League Baseball teams and 12 additional minor league teams playing in other sports.

The Collegiate Sports segment includes the 60 Florida colleges participating in athletics from the NCAA Division I level to smaller provide and religious institutions. Also included in the collegiate athletics segment is Florida’s nine college football bowl games played annually in December and January.

Finally, Florida’s equine industry is widely recognized by national and international experts as among the world’s finest and the Ocala/Marion County region is commonly referred to as the horse capital of the world. Florida’s thoroughbred foal production each year is second only to Kentucky.