Ray Palmer and the Pensacola Sports Association (PSA) are committed to enhancing the Pensacola sports scene, promoting health, fitness and sportsmanship and growing sports tourism in the Pensacola area. Their efforts were recognized last week by the Florida Sports Foundation as they were awarded the 2015 Florida Sports Leadership Award.
Florida Sports Foundation President John Webb made a special trip to Pensacola to attend the PSA’s monthly board meeting, during which he made a brief announcement and informed the board and Ray Palmer, PSA Executive Director, of the recognition. The Florida Sports Foundation, a Division of Enterprise Florida, supports 27 sports commissions in the state, awards this recognition once a year to a director and commission based on its ongoing success in the sports tourism industry.
“Just as Florida with the leadership of Visit Florida leads the nation in the tourism industry, the Florida Sports Foundation sets the bar nationally as the model in the sports tourism segment, said Ray Palmer on his recognition. “Florida is where the world comes to play and sports and recreation spending is responsible for $44.4 billion in economic output. The 27 sports commission’s directors and staffs are some of the most highly respected names in the entire industry. For the Pensacola Sports Association to be recognized with this award by the Governor of Florida and the Florida Sports Foundation is truly an honor second to none.”
The PSA has a full line-up of sports tourism events in the fall including the Pensacola Marathon Presented by Publix (Nov. 8), FCSAA State Volleyball Championship (Nov. 4-8), Pensacola Futures USTA Tennis Championship (Nov. 12-22), NCAA DII National Soccer Championships (Dec. 2-5) and NIRSA Flag Football National Championship (Jan. 1-3). Other sports tourism events include youth soccer, ice hockey, equestrian, and senior softball. A full listing of PSA and other sporting events can be found at www.pensacolasports.com.
“The Pensacola Sports Association has a long heritage of hosting a variety of amateur, leisure and collegiate sports in the Panhandle of Florida,” said FSF President John Webb. “Over the years, their sports tourism events have brought in a significant number of out-of-state visitors from the Gulf Coast region of the United States and the Southeast to enhance the quality of life of those living in Northwest Florida. Because of the professional efforts of Ray and the PSA the area will continue to experience sports tourism growth.”
“This honor is certainly well deserved,” said Steve Hayes, President of Visit Pensacola. “With each event that PSA brings to the Pensacola Bay Area, a new group of people are introduced to our beautiful destination. When they plan their vacations, we hope they remember the great time they had here in Pensacola.”
The PSA is one of the oldest sports associations/commissions in the United States, beginning in 1954. Today the PSA manages or assists in numerous events a year throughout the Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa county areas. Events include a high school all-star series, flag football, 5K-15K runs, marathons, triathlons, bicycle races, collegiate national championships, and annual awards and scholarships banquets to name a few. The PSA is dedicated to building a better community through sports.