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The sports complex is a source of income for the local economy

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Our beautiful beaches aren’t the only economic drivers in our area. Sports tourism is something that attracts people from multiple states.

Publix Sports Park is a particularly great sports tourism asset in Panama City Beach.

“Those events that happen over the weekend are what we call anchor events,” said Mike Higgins, general manager of Publix Sports Park. “We booked 48 of the 52 weekends in 2022.”

The complex is a cash cow for the local economy.

“Our annual budget here is just over $1.5 million and we’re on track to surpass this year,” Higgins said.

Publix Sports Park and Frank Brown Park are currently joint hosts of the Grand Slam USA World Series of Baseball. Officials said around 210 teams were in town for the event.

“There’s like 15 kids on a team,” Higgins said. “We know there’s like 2.8 guests per player, so you’re driving those numbers and as you can see it’s a lot.”

Higgins also said the situation was tough to beat.

“Our job here is to populate the park,” Higgins said. “It’s built, it’s beautiful. We maintain it and make it better and keep it busy, so that’s really what we’re focusing on here.”

The numbers also speak for themselves. Visit Panama City Beach employees said the Publix Sports Park has raised $170.4 million since 2019.

Higgins said he looks forward to the future of the complex.

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