Pasco County tourism rebrands as ‘Florida’s Sports Coast’

Pasco County now wants to be known as “Florida’s Sports Coast.”

The announcement — anticipated for months — was made official at a March 7 brand launch ceremony held at Tampa International Airport.

Pasco County’s tourism office, Visit Pasco, has rebranded itself as ‘Florida’s Sports Coast.’ The new marketing slogan was made official at a March 7 brand launch ceremony at Tampa International Airport. Pasco County tourism director Adam Thomas spoke at the brand launch. (Kevin Weiss)

The rebrand is part of an ongoing effort for the county’s tourism office, Visit Pasco, to expand its footprint as a sports and recreation destination.

Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore said the Florida’s Sports Coast brand creates a “refreshed identity” for the county, to “communicate new energy and enthusiasm that hasn’t been established in the past.”

Accompanying the Florida’s Sports Coast marketing campaign is the tagline, “Let’s Play.”

Previous Pasco tourism promotions featured the slogans “It’s only natural” and “Open spaces, vibrant places” — referring to the county’s ecotourism offerings.

The new slogan coincides with a number of multipurpose sports facilities that have opened or will open soon, along with other recreational offerings in Pasco.

Moore highlighted present sports assets, such as Wesley Chapel’s AdventHealth Center Ice and Saddlebrook Golf & Tennis Resort, as well as the county’s myriad of outdoor adventure activities including saltwater fishing and biking trails.

“Sports tourism in Pasco County is something that we excel at,” Moore said, “and we’re dedicated to sports tourism and the positive impact it has for our large number of local partners, as well as the community.”

Moore mentioned the forthcoming Wiregrass Ranch Sports Complex figures to be a game-changer, too.

The $44 million, 98,000-square-foot multipurpose facility set to open later this year, is poised to bring in top-level sporting events in cheerleading, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball and so on.

He said the facility will “highlight our area even more and bring in even a larger economic impact to Pasco County.”

According to Moore, tourism overall in Pasco County last year generated a $615 million economic impact from 957,000 visitors and 1.1 million room nights, which he said in turn equated to 7,500 jobs and $156 million in wages.

“Those numbers are pretty extraordinary,” Moore said.

The commissioner expects those tourism numbers to grow, as the county directs marketing efforts more so to sports tourism.

Pasco County has rebranded as ‘Florida’s Sports Coast,’ as it looks to expand its footprint as a sports tourism destination. (Courtesy of Visit Pasco)

“As more facilities are finished, and we attract more events to Pasco County, we’ll have new hotels that will continue to give us more capacity,” Moore said.

“I also can’t wait to see what the impact has on Pasco County with our new brand, Florida’s Sports Coast,” he added.

Adam Thomas, tourism director for Pasco, said the Florida’s Sports Coast brand helps “create an identity that’s going to make waves in Florida’s (tourism) marketplace.”

“We’re all about sports. That’s our DNA. That’s our lifeblood,” said Thomas, who’s been with the county since 2017.

The tourism director added that the branding is on point for the county, which he described as “a vast destination that has many products and many offerings, and many attractions and many things to do.”

“We just feel that we’re creating a sense of place, not only for us as an (tourism) office, but the entire the community, the entire county, the entire destination,” Thomas said.

With that, Thomas said his tourism office is currently strategizing to draw amateur sports and recreation events that can generate a high economic return for the county.

An example of that, he said, is Torhs2Hot4Ice, a national roller hockey tournament held at AdventHealth Center Ice.

“We play roller hockey for 10 days and that creates 1,800 room nights for us and about a $5 million economic impact,” the tourism director said.

Thomas also added the opening of the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Complex will further help the county’s newfound mission of economic impact-driven sports tourism.

“We actually have events right now that are just lined up waiting for that door to open up,” Thomas said.

Published March 13, 2019

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