It's the Publix Sports Park now. Panama City Beach Sports Complex renamed under $500K deal.

Nathan Cobb

The News Herald

PANAMA CITY BEACH — The Panama City Beach Sports Complex will now be known as the Publix Sports Park. 

In a special meeting Friday, the Panama City Beach Tourist Development Council approved a sponsorship agreement with Publix Super Markets for the complex, which opened in July 2019 off Chip Seal Parkway and quickly became a major tourist attraction in the area.

"I can't be more excited," Seven Bailey, chairman of the TDC, said of the news. "It adds so much excitement to this community to see these kids and their parents come in to now a nationally known, nationally branded Publix Sports Park."

According to J. Michael Brown, vice president of tourism development for Visit Panama City Beach, Publix has agreed to invest $100,000 a year into the complex for the next five years. 

All money given by Publix to the park will pass through an approval process with the Bay County Commission. 

Brown, who said it took more than a year to finalize the deal, noted that Publix boasts almost 1,300 locations across seven states. More than 800 are in Florida and five are within 15 miles of the sports park. 

"The company is very well recognized," he said. "It has been on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For every year since 1998, (and) it has made Forbes annual list of the World's Most Admired Companies since 1994. It's truly an outstanding company and exactly the type that we're happy to partner with."

A press release from Visit Panama City Beach states the complex, which opened in July 2019, cost about $41 million. It has nine turf fields, four natural grass fields, tournament buildings and two championship fields with 1,500 seats. 

It also notes that in its opening year, the park hosted 80,000 visitors, was responsible for the booking of 120,000 local hotel rooms and had a $56 million impact on the community. 

Publix spokesperson Hannah Herring, who also spoke during the meeting, said she was impressed with the facility from the moment she arrived. 

"Because I'm a mom of three, I spend most of my nights at the ball parks, so I definitely know how much families appreciate a place like this to be able to bring their children," Herring said. "(Publix) believes in supporting the communities that (it) serves and youth sports is obviously an integral part of all of that."

About Visit Panama City Beach

Visit Panama City Beach is the official destination marketing organization for Panama City Beach, Florida. The award-winning organization has earned industry accreditation (DMAP) from Destinations International, the world’s leading authority in destination marketing, and exists to drive economic opportunity, job creation, community sustainability and quality of life for its residents through marketing, promotion and stewardship of the destination’s REAL.FUN.BEACH. brand and attributes, tourism development, special event production, and managing beach re-nourishment and maintenance programs.  

Media Contacts:

Michael Booini / Mike Higgins                   Chris O’Brien / Lacee Rudd

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