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News Story
Updated: 09/28/2013 08:00:03AM

Sports are big business in Sarasota County

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SUN PHOTO BY JUSTIN FENNELL

Sarasota County has made substantial investments in its sports facilities, including contributing almost half the costs of the $45 million rowing facility at Nathan Benderson Park.

By SCOTT LOCKWOOD

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Spring training baseball, the 2017 World Rowing Championships, offshore racing, swimming championships and major triathlon events — all are big economic drivers that infuse well over $100 million annually into the local economy.

“Several years ago, we all thought that sports tourism would help us out, and it’s all come true after a lot of hard work,” Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta said of the county’s sports efforts, which have included the $45 million rowing facility at Nathan Benderson Park, and $31.2 million in renovations to Ed Smith Stadium that lured the Baltimore Orioles to Sarasota for spring training in 2010.

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