This year’s 35th Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix had 68 race teams compete from around the world, a significant increase from an average of 30 race teams participating over the last several years, thanks to Powerboat P1 and the Offshore Powerboat Association partnering on a new six-race offshore series this season.
This produced hugely positive results for both the sport of powerboat racing and the impact that the Festival continues to have on the local economy and Suncoast Charities for Children.
Visit Sarasota County reported in their economic impact report that the 2019 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix generated an estimated economic impact of $29.6 Million and a direct total impact of $17.9 Million in expenditures. This is a considerable increase from $21.9 Million reported in 2018. CBS Sports and Fox Sports aired an hour long post-race program reaching approximately 65 million homes within the United States and 400 million households in over 150 countries. The races were also livestreamed with 301,276 viewers tuning in from around the world.
“The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival continues to be one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year for our area, bringing visitors and participants from around the world. To have it nationally televised and continue to generate such a high level of economic impact year after year is impressive”, commented Visit Sarasota County President Virginia Haley. The local economy was not the only winner from this year’s results. Net proceeds totaling just over $100,000 were raised for Suncoast Charities for Children, who produce the Grand Prix Festival and July 4th Bayfront Fireworks. Suncoast Charities for Children supports five local non-profit agencies that provide critical programs and services to over 5,000 clients with special needs.
Next year’s Festival will be held June 20-28 with the Grand Prix Race taking place on Sunday, June 28. This is a change from the past 35 years when the race has been held near the July 4th holiday. Visit Sarasota County, Presenting Sponsor for the Grand Prix, expressed a need to focus on expanding demand outside of a popular holiday weekend for local businesses and hoteliers to organizers. The City of Sarasota, a Major Sponsor for the Festival, similarly expressed that such a move will help with surrounding city staff resources needed during a busy holiday weekend. “We want to continue being a good partner to the community and feedback from key sponsors is something we always take into consideration before planning any special event”, said Festival Director Lucy Nicandri. “Our Board of Directors welcomed and carefully reviewed this suggestion along with feedback from participating race teams traveling to Sarasota. I feel moving the race to the weekend before the July 4th holiday will now allow visitors and locals, who could not attend before due to the holiday, to experience next year’s Festival”, Nicandri added.
For updates and more information visit their website here.
**Please Note – Visit Sarasota County’s economic impact report was compiled by Downs & St. Germain Research. It was based upon information received from attendee surveys conducted during the event by Tampa based Research Data Services. Research Data Services is a market research firm contracted by and paid for by Suncoast Charities for Children. Research Data Services also indicated that this year’s Festival supported a total of 16,800 room nights in area lodgings.
Photo by Pete Boden