Ocala, FL (May 27, 2015): HITS, Inc. is pleased to announce the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF), the state’s leading sports promotion and development organization, has named the HITS Ocala Winter Show Circuit, held at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida, Best Event of the Year in the Small Market category.
Last week, the FSF presented five awards to recognize Florida communities and sports commissions for their outstanding efforts in sports tourism in the State of Florida. The awards were presented at the FSF’s annual Sports Summit, held this year in Fort Lauderdale. The awards presented included:
Best Event of the Year – Small Market: HITS Ocala Winter Horse Show Jumping Circuit – Ocala/Marion County Sports Commission
Venue of the Year: Nathan Benderson Park – Sarasota County Sports Commission
Best Awarded Event of the Year – Large Market: 2017 Major League Baseball All Star Game Week – Miami-Dade Sports Commission
Best Event of the Year – Mid Market: United States Fastpitch Association (USFA) World Series – Visit Panama City Beach
Best Event of the Year – Large Market: 2014 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Girls Junior National Volleyball Championship – Central Florida Sports Commission, Orlando
The 10-week HITS Ocala Winter Circuit was held between January 13 and March 23, 2015, attracting over 54,800 competitors and 20,000 spectators to Ocala/Marion County, while awarding over $3 Million in prize money to the nation's most accomplished riders and horses. During HITS Ocala Winter Festival, February 10-15, HITS hosted the iconic Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ CSIO-4*, which gave international equestrian stars the opportunity to compete for more than $400,000 in prize money and the chance to represent their country in Spain at the FEI Nations Cup™ Finals in September. HITS exhibitors accounted for over 84,000 room nights and generated more than $94 million in economic impact. More than $84 million of the economic impact came from out of state.
“Each of these awards were earned through the hard work of the sports commissions staffs who work tirelessly to enhance their local communities through sports,” said FSF President John Webb. “The 27 Florida Sports Commissions bring over 2,500 sporting events to the state annually and provide a significant impact to the Florida tourism industry and economy.”
"Florida has been the home of our winter show circuit for over thirty years and with the continued support of local businesses, the community and Marion County's equine enthusiasts, HITS has made a significant impact on show jumping throughout the state, and the nation," said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri.
"It is an honor to be recognized by the Florida Sports Foundation for the 2015 HITS Ocala show circuit which presented over $3 Million in prize money, the FEI Nations Cup, and the second-annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix. We look forward to continuing these legacies for years to come," continued Struzzieri.
The 2016 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit begins January 19 and will boast another ten weeks of show jumping competition, in addition to the third annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on Monday, March 28. More information is available at www.HitsShows.com.
For more information about the Florida Sports Foundation and the 27 Sports Commissions of Florida, please visit www.flasports.com.