City, Jax Chamber, Gator Bowl team up for tourism

Partnership to promote Jacksonville as sports destination


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville, Gator Bowl Sports and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday they will work together to showcase the Northeast Florida region as a sports destination for professional, amateur and youth sports.

This public-private partnership will be known as the Jacksonville Sports Council, furthering a vision Mayor Alvin Brown articulated early in his administration to develop sports and entertainment as a major tool to enhance the economy and quality of life for the people of Northeast Florida.

"World-class events help the city's economy by drawing visitors and providing a global stage to showcase Jacksonville and Northeast Florida," Brown said. "By forging this new public-private partnership, our community can build even more momentum to attract major events. I am proud of our success landing significant events, such as the upcoming US Soccer Men's National Team game before the World Cup and Florida Country Superfest. Our new partnership can only add more major events for our residents and visitors to enjoy."

The decision to form this public-private partnership also stems from the 2013 chamber trip to Charlotte, where community leaders learned the importance of high-level cooperation in the promotion, support and leverage of a community's sports industry. After additional research of other city sports models, they said it became clear most cities experienced success through partnerships driven by private, nonprofit organizations that can provide focus and continuity in attracting sporting events.

"When you look across the country at cities that are driving economic impact with sporting events, they are making it happen with cohesive partnerships between the public and private sectors," JAX Chamber president and CEO Daniel Davis said. "This council will have the resources it needs to enhance our signature events and franchises, while attracting others that can bring a high return to the city."

The Jacksonville Sports Council will be privately funded and Gator Bowl Sports will supplement the administrative and operational funding.  Alan Verlander, chief operating officer of Gator Bowl Sports, will be executive director of the Jacksonville Sports Council.