Tampa Bay shines as sports performance destination, attracts athletes from around world
Reason #13: Top Sports Performance Destination
The Sarasota Rowing Facility at Nathan Benderson Park is building an international reputation as a world-class facility for collegiate and other rowing regattas. The 2,000 meter world-class sprint course, one of the few such facilities in the world, has already attracted training rowers from Harvard University and other schools from across the U.S. while the facility is still under construction. The master planned facility will be completed this year.
With its warm, mild weather and host of amenities including nearby beaches, cultural centers, and tons of entertainment attractions, Tampa Bay also serves as the Spring Training headquarters for six out-of-state Major League Baseball teams: the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin; New York Yankees in Tampa; Detroit Tigers in Lakeland; Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton; Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota; and Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater.
Training home to tennis stars, Andre Agassi & Maria Sharapova, U.S. Soccer’s residency program, the NFL Rookie Symposium and up to 1,300 other world-class athletes in soccer, tennis, golf, football, basketball, baseball, softball, lacrosse and many more sports— Bradenton’s IMG Academies is the world’s foremost sports performance training center and world-class high school sports academy. Today, the campus attracts more than 20,000 athletes from 100 countries annually. With a strong and balanced focus on both academics and athletics, more than 90% of IMG Pendleton High School graduates go on to play their sport at the collegiate level. The 2011 graduating class left with nearly 1.5 million dollars in freshman year scholarships.
IMG is also now home to Gatorade’s new Sports Science Institute, where athletes such as Iman Shumpert (the NBA’s 17th overall draft pick) and NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade go looking for insights into their bodies while Gatorade tests a series of new products, such as energy chews, intended to boost athletic performance. The new Gatorade facility also tells the story of why researchers and innovators choose to locate to Tampa Bay.