Report: Investments in Florida Sports Foundation, VISIT Florida worth the money

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With a governor as jobs- and business-focused as Rick Scott, it’s no surprise the state spends a significant amount of time calculating the return on investment (ROI) provided by many state programs. Some may not provide a worthwhile return on investment, but two exceptional programs have managed to triple – even quintuple – the value of every tax dollar they receive.

According to a report by the Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research issued earlier this week, the Florida Sports Foundation and VISIT FLORIDA lead the way in providing Floridians a meaningful return on tax dollars. The report shows that the Florida Sports Foundation leads the way, providing a remarkable 5.61 ROI – for every dollar the state allocates to the Foundation, it generates $5.61 in revenue from various sports activities from professional to amateur. The state’s tourism promotion arm, VISIT FLORIDA, also ranked high on the list with an ROI of $3.20 for every tax dollar it receives.

Although the Florida Sports Foundation receives just a small fraction of the budget VISIT FLORIDA receives every year, its efforts resulted in more than 238,000 visitors traveling to the Sunshine State in 2013 for various sporting events and activities. Over the same time, more than 5.5 million tourists visited the Sunshine State, encouraged by VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing efforts.

In addition, both programs created a substantial number of jobs with the funds they were given. In just one year’s time, VISIT FLORIDA created more than 25,000 jobs and the Florida Sports Foundation generated almost 800.

Earlier news stories focused on the other end of the spectrum, where the state’s ROI from the Film and Entertainment Industry Financial Incentives Program was between .25 and .54, depending on which incentive program was being measured. Tax incentives for stadium construction also produced questionable returns.

With the state’s tourism industry an obvious major economic engine and Florida’s sporting industry generating more than $44 billion annually, it begs the question: Should we be directing more funds to these successful programs?

The numbers don’t lie.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.



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