Days before the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael’s devastating landfall, the community of Panama City Beach celebrated the grand opening of the Panama City Beach Sports (PCB) Complex. The 160-acre project suffered early challenges in construction following the Category 5 hurricane in 2018, but thanks to the hard work of the construction and Sports Facilities Management (SFM)operations teams, dedicated staff, and the support of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, the complex welcomed thousands for an on-time grand opening event. This wasn’t the facility’s first event, however. The complex has already hosted a slew of sports events including several that were slated for other area venues too damaged by the storm to fulfill the original bookings.
Jason Clement, Founder and CEO of the SFM said, “The entire team pulled together including the sports complex staff, the Visit Panama City Beach staff and the construction team in reaching a new gear to open on time. The complex is not only a first-class venue located at one of the world’s best beaches, but it is an example for what this community is capable of when working together. The events we have attracted and subsequent families visiting the area are already bolstering the economic vitality and spurring additional development. We are so proud to partner with Bay County and Panama City Beach on this industry-leading destination.”
At the heart of this development is the desire to bring new visitors to the city and surrounding region. Already, the SFM team at the complex has reached and exceeded their booking pace for events in year one; bringing in 50 events through summer 2020 and has created and executed unique marketing relationships with local businesses. The complex is expected to generate more than $13 million in new market spending from visitors in year one and spur job growth.
At Saturday’s open house-style event, the SFM facility team coordinated remarks from local officials and project partners, live music, giveaways, and live demonstrations from local sports clubs and leagues featuring lacrosse, soccer, quidditch, baseball, and more. Thousands gathered to experience the brand-new sports venue and celebrate this momentous achievement.
“This project has been a long time coming and our team at Visit Panama City Beach is incredibly proud of the complex,” said Visit Panama City Beach president and CEO, Dan Rowe. “Through our public-private partnerships, this complex will enhance the amenities we already have for visitors to Panama City Beach as well as our residents. It puts our beach destination on the map in a whole new way.”
SFM General Manager J.D. Wood added, “Our team has been working tremendously hard to open our facility on time for Bay County and its visitors. We are committed to providing a level of service that is exceptional and represents our city in the best way. We are thankful for the support from Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bay County Chamber of Commerce, Visit Panama City Beach, St. Joe Company and the hard-working construction team from Anchor CEI. We are excited to open our facility with more than 50 events on the calendar and key sponsor relationships. I feel blessed to live and work in Panama City Beach and open this facility to athletes and their families year-round.”
In addition to hosting national-caliber events such as the US Youth Soccer South Region Cross Conference Series and the Soccer Youth All-American Series, the sports complex team also plans to add opportunities for local residents to play various sports at the facility.