NBP’s FY 2019 economic impact reaches nearly $35 million

NBP Contact:  Douglas E. Jessmer, Media and Communications Manager, douglas@sanca.us, 941-358-7275 office, 941-374-8492 mobile

For immediate release  |  Nov. 4, 2019


Fiscal year’s impact number is calculated at $34.8 million;
six-year stretch produces almost $176 million in impact

SARASOTA, Fla.: Nathan Benderson Park is known for its sports, cultural and entertainment events, as well as its programs for healthier living in the community. But the park’s economic impact on the community has grown yet again this year, reaching nearly $35 million for the fiscal year that just ended.

Economic impact is the ripple effect of visitors coming to the park for its events and team training, through hotel stays, restaurant visits, transportation fees, retail impact, sales taxes and more.

NBP is a Sarasota County park managed by the nonprofit Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA). The park brought $34,828,863 in economic impact on the Sarasota-Bradenton region in fiscal year 2019, according to numbers provided by Visit Sarasota County.

The figure represents a gain of about $2.3 million over last fiscal year, during a time the region is recovering from the impact of red tide last year, said Stephen V. Rodriguez, the president of SANCA. About $14.5 million in economic impact came in the slow tourism months of June and July, he said.

This figure adds into a six-year total of $175.9 million since April 2014, when SANCA began operation of the region’s premier sports venue. NBP is operated through private funds and other revenues generated and secured by SANCA, while Sarasota County provides reimbursements for certain direct expenses related to the park. In the May 17 county commission budget workshop, Sarasota County staff reported that it would cost the county $2.3 million to operate the park, and commissioners approved $1.2 million of park maintenance and operations reimbursements for FY 2020.

“Economic impact is really only just one small part of how this park serves the community,” Rodriguez said.

NBP benefits the region with cultural, entertainment and athletic events, and benefits the community through programs that nurture stronger individuals and families — programs which help kids become water-safe, develop pre-school children’s abilities to learn and grow, teach safe boating and responsible fishing, promote healthy living through outdoor exercise, and get people involved in water sports.

During the last fiscal year, NBP was host to the World Rowing Under 23 Championships, which itself brought $6.1 million in impact, and the USRowing Youth National Championships, which impacted the local economy with an additional $7.1 million. In April alone, the Florida Scholastic Rowing Assn.’s two championship regatta weekends brought another $3.61 million to the community, and the Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Assn. championship regatta in April brought $1.29 million.

Events at NBP also bring opportunities for the community to come together. Through volunteerism, participation and sponsorships, people from across the Suncoast work together, become friends, and show the world our hospitality.

“Nathan Benderson Park’s economic impact growth in fiscal year 2019 is a great example of the importance of diversifying our tourism marketing efforts,” Visit Sarasota County Sports Director Shelby Connett said. “Our community is fortunate to have well-run facilities like NBP that host successful events throughout the entire year.”

The park’s events portfolio continues to expand. The Fence, the largest outdoor photography exhibit in North America, debuted last year at NBP, as did the Florida Turkey Trot, both of which return this month. An estimated 25,000 people turned out for the annual NBP Fireworks On The Lake. The world’s biggest bounce house, The Big Bounce America, debuted this past weekend at the park. Other events include the Sailor Circus Big Top Holidays, Cirque des Voix, My Hometown Fest, Sarasota County Parks’s Big Truck Day, many runs, walks and functions for charity, and more.

“We’re more than just a sport event facility,” Rodriguez said. “It’s about the community coming out, enjoying the park and having fun.”

NBP’s programs include spring break and summer camps, the latter of which doubled in size this summer, according to NBP Program Manager Meghan Farrell.

“Our objective is to offer diverse programs to the community, and not just water-based,” Farrell said, “opportunities for the community to take advantage of one of the most utilized parks in Sarasota County.”

The park also offers programs to benefit the area’s wellness, including yoga, ChiWalking™, Camp Gladiator, Brats Club Early Childhood Education, NBP Masters Rowing for adults 27 and older, and dragon boat paddling programs for recreation and competition.

The NBP Dragons and the NBP Survivors In Sync breast-cancer survivors team carry the park’s flag in the sport of dragon boat paddling. NBP Dragons has tripled in size in the last year, and has split into recreation and competition teams. NBP Survivors In Sync was crowned one of the world’s best breast cancer survivors teams in late 2018 during a competition in Italy.

NBP plays host to winter team training for college and high school rowing and dragon boat teams from across the United States and Canada, which was responsible for an impact of $3.389 million.

One of the nonprofit’s internal goals, Rodriguez said, is to generate $20 million or more every year in economic impact.

“In terms of tourism value, we’re exceeding that goal,” he said. “It’s easy to talk about because it’s measurable. Serving our community is the true benefit and is measured by the number of people in our community who enjoy Nathan Benderson Park.”

“Our success is based on our partnerships with the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Sarasota County, Sarasota County and our many volunteers and community supporters, who work with us throughout the year,” he said.

— NBP —

Fiscal years are Oct. 1-Sept. 30

2013-14: $12,689,021
2014-15: $26,044,990
2015-16: $19,549,621
2016-17: $28,667,047*  ($51,280,547 including the World Rowing Championships)
2017-18: $32,574,316
2018-19: $34,828,863
TOTAL: $175,967,358

*Does not include World Rowing Championships impact, which was $22,613,500.

Source: SANCA and Visit Sarasota County

— NBP —

Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates Inc. (SANCA), is a not-for-profit 501c3 business created to manage Nathan Benderson Park (NBP), a community/public asset and world-class, multi-use sports venue. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for our community and be an economic generator for our region. SANCA’s primary purpose is to develop and promote NBP as a world class event center, team training site and Sarasota County park, while providing outreach programs through recreation, safety training, education and volunteering as a service to our community. For more information, go to nathanbendersonpark.org/about-us/sanca-mission.

aerial shot of Nathan Benderson Park