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Naples Daily News (Florida)
The Florida High School Athletic Association and Lee County Sports Development announced Tuesday the Florida High School Baseball State Championships will remain in Lee County through 2021.
"Staying in Fort Myers was important to us based on the first-class facilities and experience provided to us by the fine people of Lee County," FHSAA Executive Director George Tomyn said. "The FHSAA believes student-athletes, coaches and fans will continue to receive the red-carpet treatment they have become accustomed to the last six years."
The 2019 event will take place at CenturyLink Sports Complex May 22-25 (1A-4A) and May 29-June 1 (5A-9A). The championships will consist of separate four-team, three-game, single-elimination tournaments in each classification.
Dates and venues for the 2020 and 2021 events will be announced at a later date. CenturyLink Sports Complex, the spring training home for Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins, has hosted the event since 2017. Prior to that, the event was held at the spring training home for MLB's Boston Red Sox, JetBlue Park (2013-16).
"Lee County is proud to have been awarded an additional three-year agreement to host the Florida High School Baseball State Championships, Lee County Sports Development Executive Director Jeff Mielke said. "This is a testament of the quality of Lee County's leadership, staff, facilities and dedication to customer service. We thank the FHSAA for trusting us with the baseball finals for another three years."
The terms of the agreement remain from the previous three-year contract. The county will pay the FHSAA $10,000 each year and the FHSAA retains the first $54,000 of ticket sales and then half of each ticket sale thereafter. Tickets are $9 if purchased in advance and $12 the day of.
In addition, the FHSAA receives half of all parking fees up to $7,500 per year. Parking costs $10 for cars and $50 for buses.
While it seemed the county was giving up quite a bit the payoff came in the amount of direct visitor spending, which includes rented hotel rooms and spending at restaurants and shopping by out-of-county guests. According to Lee County Sports and Development, visitors attending the FHSAA championships in 2017 totaled 1,579 hotel nights and spent $657,002 amounting to $1,097,193 in total impact.
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