America’s favorite pastime has teamed up with Sarasota to help fund an important chamber program. The Baltimore Orioles organization has pledged $150,000 to Sarasota Tomorrow Next, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s regional economic and community development initiative. The announcement came at a press conference at Ed Smith Stadium on June 25.
The Orioles have had a presence in Sarasota for 20 years, culminating in the move to Ed Smith Stadium for spring training and year-round operations in 2010. “Two major elements in Sarasota Tomorrow Next focuses on enhancing the sports tourism economy and preparing our youth for the future—priorities the Orioles share,” says David Rovine, vice president of Orioles-Sarasota. “We support the Chamber’s drive to expand sports and recreational opportunities and tourism in the area. Preparing young people for the future through the Talent 4 Tomorrow initiative also appeals to us.” It is a pre-kindergarten through “Grade 20” post-secondary education and training program.
According to Orioles ownership representative Louis Angelos, the Chamber’s Sarasota Tomorrow leaders and resources invited the Orioles to Greater Sarasota, prepared economic impact studies that portrayed benefits that would come from the relocation and helped bring about the combined complex renovation projects.
The construction projects to renovate Ed Smith Stadium and the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex created some 500 local jobs and nearly $54 million in construction-related economic impact. In addition, the club’s year-round events and athletic training program generates up to another $50 million in annual economic tourism impact throughout the Sarasota community.
The Orioles multimillion-dollar investment in Sarasota—definitely not peanuts!