The Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County, a 98,000 square foot indoor sports complex, has opened with a ribbon-cutting attended by County Commissioner Mike Moore, local dignitaries, officials from Florida's Sports Coast, RADD Sports, and the Porter Family, who donated the land for the project. The facility, developed and managed by RADDSports, was created to host amateur and youth sports events.
On an 80-acre site, the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus includes 8 basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, 16 pickleball courts, 8 futsal courts, 2 cheer competition areas, a cheer studio, 2,500 bleacher seats, an athletic training area, an educational lab, a lounge, and a VIP mezzanine overlooking, and of course, a concessions area and full-service kitchen.
Commissioner Moore says," This is something Pasco County has been working on for a long time. We’re putting our Tourist Development Tax dollars to use. This nearly 100,000 square-foot facility is going to bring in new sports from all over the nation, if not the world to come here on the weekends. When athletes come to Pasco County, they’re going to bring their families and spectators who are going to shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants, buy our gas and stay in our hotels. It’s going to be a huge economic impact for our local community and citizens here in Pasco County.”
Coming fall 2021, a 128-suite Residence Inn by Marriott will be right next door, intended to be used as lodging for athletes and families. The hotel will overlook the complex with a rooftop bar. The Mainsail Lodging and Development LLC owned hotel will also include an outdoor heating pool and a 24/7 market.
The complex cost $44 million total to build, $26 million of which was funded by tourist development taxes. The idea first was introduced 20 years ago with the aspiration of getting Pasco in on the sports tourism market, which brings in about $10 billion a year. 43 out of the next 52 weekends have already been booked out with various events.
The complex has already hosted its first event—a Tampa Live tournament, hosting 64 youth basketball teams. The tournament booked out 500 rooms in nearby hotels. The director of basketball at the facility, Ronnie Outen, claims that “There is no other facility like this, not in the southeast and maybe not in the country.”
Given the pandemic, there are some concerns with a facility that has the capacity to hold such a large volume of people. In response to this potential issue, the Vice President of Development for RADDSports, Anthony Homer, states, “The 98,000 square-foot facility allows us to be flexible in accommodating larger events by coordinating different access points which limit interaction between event attendees and athletes entering and exiting the facility.”
The vision for this facility is to bring in visitors for weekend tournaments, drawing hundreds to various lodging, dining, and other attraction services, and provide local youth programs during the week. The Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus will help bring the community and beyond together, while expanding into the sports tourism sector, bringing in large profits to build up the Pasco County economy.
When will you be visiting?!