SEP 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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┬▓ConventionSouth ┬▓ S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 32 MARKET SEGMENT REPORT: SPORTS EVENTS & COMPETITIONS in terms of the full package to stand out. For example, a public-private partnership between the City of Arlington and the Texas Rangers led to the recent opening of the $250 million Texas Live! Entertainment Complex this summer. The dining, entertainment and hospitality complex features 200,000 square feet of dining and entertainment space, a 5,000-capacity outdoor event pavilion called Arlington Backyard and the flagship Live! By Loews hotel, which is scheduled to open in summer 2019. It is part of a $4 billion vision for Arlington's Entertainment District that includes a new Rangers $1.1 billion ball- park and the repurposing of Globe Life Park. "That's something we have not had," Wil- son said. "People like to go to an entertain- ment facility with bars, restaurants and other entertainment and then go to the game. It's another tool in our bag." Sugarman noted that planners are looking for a full package that includes the right venues, hotels and entertainment, something that appeals to families since many sports events also become opportunities for vaca- tions. "They want somewhere fun, safe, re- laxing and a one-stop shop destination to fit multiple needs," she said, adding that Cocoa Beach and its regional area meets this need through its beach, river, water sports, Ken- nedy Space Center and plenty of shopping. Building on Strengths Sports is a competitive market and smaller destinations are wise to draw on their strengths to stand out. For instance, South Seas Island Resort, located in the small market of Captiva Island in Lee County, Fla., was recently named the official host of the 22nd Hobie 16 World Championships in 2019. Notably, it will be the first time the prestigious sailing event will be held in the United States in 35 years. Francesca Donlan, APR, communications director with the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, said that the opportunity presented itself through long-term relationship build- ing that began with an opportunity for Hobie executives to experience the region's unique flavor. "The president of Hobie came and was just so enamored with our destination," she said, noting that the atmosphere of Captiva Island and neighboring Sanibel Island aligned well with Hobie's environmental focus. "San- ibel is so well preserved. Captiva and Sanibel are stunning. It's very specific to Captiva's strengths, what they do best." South Seas Island Resort will host more than 900 athletes, 336 teams from more than 29 countries and 60 new Hobie Cat racing catamaran sailboats for 13 sailing days. Past events have realized more than 7,000 partici- pants and spectators. Q Fed Cup at the Birmingham- Jefferson Convention Complex Rocky Mount Kayaking Birmingham Crossplex

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