PASCO COUNTY - Leaders in Pasco County want to become a big player when it comes to attracting sporting events to the area.
That's why they are looking to hire someone to focus on just that.
The Dick Sporting Goods lacrosse tournament in Wesley Chapel brings 90 teams to Pasco County ever year. That's $3.5 million of economic impact.
"That's no small thing."
There's also the Savage Race…and the driving event at Little Everglades Ranch.
Since 2005, Pasco County has gone from hosting two sporting events to at least 20.
Now Ed Caum in the Tourism Department says new efforts are underway to double that amount.
"The benefit to that is not only do they stay in our hotels, but they also eat in our restaurants, they buy gas here, so we recoup the sales tax," he said.
The county just approved a new position to focus on bringing in more events.
They are looking to hire a sports marketing coordinator with big ideas because leaders believe Pasco is primed and ready to be a destination.
"People want to come to Florida play their ball, play their sports and visit the mouse while they are here, so I think we are poised to grow bigger. To bring in all these events, you need places to play…it's growing, the demand is growing."
Parks Director Rick Buckman says they've already seen expansion around the county, and dozens more fields are slated to be part of new projects at Wiregrass and Starkey Ranch.
"Since we have built facilities that have eight to ten fields in one location, that changes the game," Buckman said.
The sports marketing position will cost the county about $43,000 a year. And while some say the money should be spent elsewhere, officials say it's the only way to keep up with neighboring counties.