SARASOTA, Fla. -- A recent Economic Impact Report released by Visit Sarasota County indicated that this year's 31st Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival generated an economic impact of $32 Million dollars for the local area, an increase over $26 Million in 2014. Direct expenditures also showed an increase from $17 Million to $20 Million.
From out-of-county attendees surveyed 88.7% indicated that they traveled to the Sarasota area because of the race and 85% of those surveyed plan to attend again next year. "It's clear from the numbers in our report that thousands of visitors have now made it a tradition to spend their July 4th weekend holiday in Sarasota County to enjoy the races and this annual Festival", said Virginia Haley, President of Visit Sarasota County.
The Grand Prix Festival and July 4th Bayfront Fireworks are produced by Suncoast Charities for Children, which also experienced an increase in net revenue this year. "With so many of the Festival events being free to the public the support received from our generous sponsors is critical for the continuation of this annual event", said Lucy Nicandri, Festival Director & Executive Director for Suncoast Charities for Children.
"The Grand Prix Festival is a prime example of the impact sports tourism brings to this community. Just adding the economic impact results over the past 5 years (not counting the 26 years before that) we're talking $98.9 Million. That's a very impressive number," said Nicandri.
For the first time the races were televised on CBS Sports Network (approx. 60 Million Households) and Fox Sun Sports (approx. 15 Million Households). Presenting and Major Sponsors for this year's Festival include Sarasota County, Sarasota County Sports Commission, Sarasota Ford, Budweiser, FCCI Insurance Group, and The Florida Sports Foundation Next year's Festival is scheduled for June 25-July 4, 2016.