Sports Center has successful summer season

City's sports fields bring in roughly $4 million of economic impact this year

The Destin Log
Members of the Dallas Football Club of Niceville, Rene Johnson, 12 (from left); Hailey Moriarty, 11; and Victoria Sherwin, 12; relax between games during the Emerald Coast Classic soccer tournament at the Morgan Sports Center in Destin. [FILE PHOTO]

Morgan’s Sports Center’s summer tournaments did not disappoint and raked in an $4 million in economic impact for the local economy.

The four soccer, baseball and softball tournaments welcomed about 300 teams this summer. Most of the teams came from out of town and competed at the sports complex over a six-week period starting in June.

“90 percent of the teams were over an hour and a half drive away from Destin. There were very few local teams in these tournaments,” said city of Destin Park and Recreational Director Lance Johnson.

Johnson said the summer tournaments brings in a lot people because Destin has so much to offer.

“Our fields are very nice and plus we have the Gulf of Mexico a block away from our facility,” he said. “Families can blend it into a vacation along with the tournament. Moms and dads are getting a vacation, while kids play at the tournaments.”

The sports complex contains four softball fields, which can be converted into soccer fields, two little league baseball fields and three multi-purpose fields that can be used for lacrosse and flag football.

The city’s spokesperson, Doug Rainer, said baseball tournaments have traditionally resulted in big business for the city.

“The way staff maintains and manages the sports complex makes Destin a premiere destination for baseball sporting events,” he said.

The rainy season did play a part during the tournaments. The sports center needed more man power to get the four fields ready for play, according to city of Destin Recreation Supervisor Bryan Kellar.

“It was more challenging for our staff when rain came out of nowhere, but besides the rain the tournament was a success,” he said.