WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — Fencing might not be a sport you hear a lot about. But Carlos Kuri said the event he started could bring about 3,000 people to Pasco County in February.
“I want to make Tampa the fencing capital of the country. And I’m going to bring them there and with the support we have from AAU; it’s going to be huge," said Kuri, President of the Fencing League of America.
Kuri has been working with the Sword Masters Club to make the sport more accessible for young people and so he started a tournament in Orlando.
But after seeing the facilities in Pasco County including the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus, he’s moving the event here. He expects up to 800 fencers along with thousands of family members and friends that will come too.
“I was shocked just how organized and how serious this push for sports was. I even told my wife the streets have sports names. This is awesome. It’s like a sports city," said Kuri.
Experience Florida’s Sports Coast said one out of every six visitors to Pasco County last year came for a sporting event, and there are many more of those events scheduled for months ahead including karate, gymnastics, hockey, and figure skating at the Center Ice facility. Plus there's also the return of the basketball combine for NBA hopefuls.
“We are doing something right. The word is getting out. The great facilities. The great destinations that we have here in Pasco," said Experience Florida's Sports Coast president Adam Thomas.
Experience Florida’s Sports Coast said sporting events brought in 52,000 visitors last year and with it $21 million in economic impact.