South Korean pro baseball team wants to hold spring training in Brevard County

BREVARD COUNTY, Florida. – In what could be a boon for Brevard County, a South Korean professional baseball team plans to come to the Space Coast for spring training in 2023, potentially at USSSA Space Coast Complex in Vieraaccording to News 6 partner Florida today.

A Fort Lauderdale-based Kia Tigers representative has applied to the Brevard County Tourism Development Board for a $20,000 county athletic grant to help cover some of the marketing, public relations, promotions and other costs of the Tigers playing here.

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Under the proposal, the Tigers — a member of the 10-team KBO league, South Korea’s top baseball league — would be in Brevard from Feb. 1 to March 10 for spring training. The Tigers are based in Gwangju, in the southwest of South Korea.

The Tigers minor league team would also come here, potentially playing at Launch Pad Sports Complex, which was formerly known as Cocoa Expo.

In addition to practicing here, the plan calls for the teams to play exhibition games against American college and minor league teams.

The Space Coast Complex – when it was known as Space Coast Stadium – and the Cocoa Expo in the past have hosted American major league baseball’s spring training.

The Tourism Development Board’s sports committee reviewed the Kia Tigers’ grant application on Tuesday, but took no action. Committee members said they wanted more details, including assurances that the baseball team has firm contracts to use the stadiums and a firm exhibition game schedule.

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When it comes to grant applications, “you shouldn’t score on ‘if’s,” said sports committee member Paul O’Leary, sports marketing and media specialist, who is vice president of operations. of the media company. WhereBy.Us.

Committee members agreed to reconsider the request at their October 13 meeting.

The grant money would come from Brevard County’s 5% Tourism Development Tax on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals.

The grant application said the Tigers expected to generate 3,575 nights of hotel room rentals during their stay on the Space Coast. Tourism Board officials estimate the economic impact to the region would be $5.90 million if the Tigers came here for spring training.

The team has already held spring training in Fort Myers and Bradenton.

The Tigers are considered the most successful team in Korean baseball history, having won the Korean Series Championship 11 times.

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Grants for new events

The sports committee on Tuesday unanimously approved grants for three new events on the Space Coast. These grants must be approved by the Tourism Development Board and the Brevard County Commission.

  • The Space Force T-Minus 10-Miler running event at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, featuring a health and fitness exhibit, has been approved for an $18,660 grant for its event dates from 9 to December 10. The event would generate approximately 2,000 overnight stays and an economic impact of $2.48 million.

  • Prep Baseball Report’s spring training showcase for Canadian junior baseball teams and individual players ages 14 and older has received a $14,660 grant for its March 11-19, 2023 event dates. event would generate approximately 1,800 overnight stays and an economic impact of $7.82 million. The Launch Pad Sports Complex is a potential venue for the event.

  • The American Junior Golf Association Moon Golf Junior All-Star at Duran Golf Club in Viera has received a grant of $5,910 for its event dates of April 20-23, 2023. The event is a 54-day Junior Golf Championship holes for boys and girls aged 12-15. The event would generate approximately 350 overnight stays and an economic impact of $608,755.

Grant amounts were based on a formula that took into account projected room nights and ratings from members of the sports committee evaluating applications. The maximum grant amount is $20,000.

Two other new events did not achieve the minimum average score of 70 out of 100 in the committee’s scoring, so they were not eligible for a grant. They were:

  • The Sunshine State Games International Beach Games, presented by the Florida Sports Foundation, at Pelican Beach Park in Satellite Beach, September 24-26, with an expected total of 200 room nights and an expected economic impact of $702,702. The event includes surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, open water swimming, beach volleyball, teqball and yoga.

  • The National Association of Basketball Coaches Basketball Clinic at the Florida Institute of Technology, October 14-16, with an expected total of 250 room nights and an estimated economic impact of $1.36 million.

Ruby Daniel, member of the sports committee and general manager of Cape Crossing Resort & Marina on Merritt Island, pointed out that “just because they haven’t received money from us does not mean that the event is not does not take place. We are not going to prevent them from organizing the event.

Grants for recurring events

Four returning sporting events on the Space Coast were recommended for grants in unanimous votes by the Sports Committee, encompassing events in the second half of the 2022-23 fiscal year, from April 1 to September 30, 2023.

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  • Space Coast Clash Football Tournament at Melbourne’s Wickham Park and Viera Regional Park, with divisions for boys and girls ages 8-15; April 1-3, 2023; grant of $15,000; 800 forecast nights; Economic impact estimated at $2.49 million.

  • Cocoa Beach Triathlon and Duathlon, and the Shuttleversary 5K; April 16, 2023; grant of $11,500; 800 forecast nights; Economic impact estimated at $264,494. The running portion of the event will take place at the Cocoa Beach Golf Course, the biking portion will take place along the A1A state road and the swimming portion will take place in the Banana River.

  • Eastern Surfing Association 2023 South East Regional Surfing Championship at Paradise Beach Park in Melbourne Beach; April 21-23, 2023; grant of $17,760; 1,000 projected nights; Economic impact estimated at $1.43 million.

  • National Kidney Foundation Rick Salick Surf Fest at Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort; September 2-4, 2023; grant of $12,000; 700 forecast nights; Economic impact estimated at $1.20 million.

The county previously approved nine athletic grants for events in the first half of the 2022-23 fiscal year, running from Oct. 1, 2022 through March 31, 2023. Those grants totaled $94,252.

Search for additional events

Terry Parks, tourism sports coordinator for the Space Coast Office of Tourism, said he and other Tourism Office staff are actively pursuing other sporting events for Brevard County.

For example, Parks told members of the athletic committee that he was working with Eastern Florida State College to bring the 2024 junior college men’s and women’s basketball tournaments to the EFSC.

Among other events, Parks and Tourism Board executive director Peter Cranis said they were looking for amateur golf tournaments, lacrosse tournaments, dance and cheer competitions, beach soccer and beach volleyball, as well as esports competitions and drone racing.

Rule changes could be coming

Members of the Sports Committee are planning to hold a workshop to review the changes to the grant guidelines.

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“We need to clean up the language a bit” in grant applications, said committee member Jaime Teijeiro, general manager of Best Western Cocoa Beach Hotel & Suites and Days Inn Cocoa Beach-Port Canaveral.

Change committee members mentioned could include things like:

  • Increase the minimum number of rental nights required to qualify for a subsidy.

  • Strengthen the budget information required from applicants.

  • Have a better tracking system for room nights rented.

  • Reduce the maximum grant amounts that applicants are eligible for if they are long-running events that have received a number of grants over the years, in order to have more money available for grants to more new events.

Currently, $50,000 is earmarked in the Space Coast Office of Tourism budget for new events, and the three grants the Sports Committee approved on Tuesday have used $39,230 of that amount.

Daniel said the county “gives money for events that we love” and in some cases the events are so established that athletic grants aren’t crucial to the continued success of the events.

Teijeiro said new events can be riskier for organizers, but may be worth the investment of a county sports grant because of the event’s potential.

Fred Poppe, sports committee member and director of Palm Bay Parks and Recreation, said it might also be a good idea to encourage grant applicants to make in-person or video presentations to the committee, to complement their written grant applications.

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“If you can’t sell it to us here, how successful will the event be?” said Poppe.