What To Watch For This Week In Florida Sports (February 18-24)

Sylvania 300Updates from Fan-Friendly Speedweeks in Daytona Beach

Depending on who you talk to, NASCAR events may be the most fan-friendly experience in the sports world.  Kicking off the 2013 NASCAR season in Daytona Beach with Budweiser Speedweeks, here’s a sample of what’s being offered at the Daytona International Speedway (DIS) this week for the convenience of its fans.

Social Speedweeks: DIS is continuing the largest and most expansive social media effort in NASCAR to further engage fans both at the Speedway and at home. Initiatives include special Twitter hashtags, handles and tweet-ups, promotion of the FREE DIS Mobile App, QR codes around the track, an onsite RFID program, DIS Social Squad and free DISINFO text alerts.

RFID Program: Share your race day experience on your social media accounts and enter to win one of more than 1,000 prizes at the Daytona Rewards Stations, located throughout Daytona International Speedway.  Prizes include VIP access for driver introductions at The Sprint Unlimited, Gatorade Victory Lane access, race tickets, garage tours, Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE passes and much more.

Signage: QR code signage can be found throughout the facility promoting Daytona’s various social media accounts.

More Convenience for Fans: Once again, larger coolers and backpacks are allowed so fans can bring more food, beverages and conveniently carry souvenirs and other items.

Affordable Opportunities for Families: Daytona 500 tickets start at $65. Kids 12 and under are half-price in backstretch grandstand seating and FREE in Sprint FANZONE when accompanied by a paid adult. For the Budweiser Speedweeks events with exception of the Daytona 500, kids 12 and under are free in General Admission seating areas.

FIRST CLASS ENTERTAINMENT ABOUNDS
Anthems: Zac Brown Band member Clay Cook will perform the National Anthem for the 55th annual Daytona 500.

Concerts: Grammy award winning artist Zac Brown Band will perform the Daytona 500 Budweiser Pre-Race Show.

Grand Marshals: James Franco, actor and star of the Disney fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” will give the starting command “Drivers start your engines”  for the 55th annual Daytona 500.

USAF Thunderbirds return: For the fourth time, the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron will perform the fly-over for the 55th annual Daytona 500. The Thunderbirds previously provided the fly-over for the Daytona 500 in 2008, 2011, 2012. The Thunderbirds fly-over will feature six F-16 Fighting Falcons, the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter aircraft.

Celebrating anniversaries: Both NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison and open-wheel legend Johnny Rutherford will be in attendance for the 55th annual Daytona 500. Allison will be marking the 25th anniversary of his third Daytona 500 victory in 1988. Allison edged his son Davey in the only father-son Daytona 500 finish in event history. Rutherford will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his 1963 100-mile qualifying race victory, which was his first race in a stock car.

Visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP Stay connected on Twitter (@DISupdates) and Facebook

FSF Represented at Rays FanFest
RaysFestFlorida Sports Foundation staff members were in attendance at the Tampa Bay Rays FanFest at Tropicana Field last Saturday promoting the Rays License Plate and passing out 2013 Florida Spring Training Guides.

Besides learning about the efforts of the Foundation, fans in attendance were treated to tours of the team’s clubhouse, while others wandered the stadium, taking in the scene, which included a charity yard sale and ticket sales.

Attendance for the day was 25,000, according to an estimate by Rays officials.

FSF Complimentary Guides available
2013ST_GuideThe 2013 editions of the Florida Spring Training Guide and PLAY Florida Golf are now available for request.

To request or download a copy of the annual Spring Training Guide, visit http://www.floridagrapefruitleague.com/home/freeguide/.  The guide contains schedules, ticket information and stadium information for all 15 teams that hold their spring training in Florida.

While the 2013 season begins on Thursday, February 21, the first full slate of games will be played on Saturday, February 23.

The annual PLAY Florida Golf Guide is a comprehensive guide to golf in the State of Florida.  It features listings and information about every public golf course in the state of Florida as well as information and tips about the game. 

This 96-page full color book is available to request by CLICKING HERE.

President Obama plays golf on the Treasure Coast
FloridianGCWhile on a President’s Day Weekend Trip to Florida, President Obama took some time to experience one of Florida’s leading sports industries, Golf.

One of the most famous residents of the Treasure Coast, also showed up to round out the foursome, as Tiger Woods joined the President, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and and outgoing U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk,  at the Floridian Golf Club in Palm City (pictured above).

The Club is owned by Astros owner Jim Crane.

The president’s foursome teed off around noon, according to Golf World senior writer Tim Rosaforte, who tweeted from the course.  On Saturday, the president got one-on-one tips from Woods’ former swing coach, Butch Harmon, and played another 27 holes with the group of Crane and Kirk.

In the NewsPush for more events at Sarasota’s Benderson Park
The push to make Southwest Florida a hot spot for competitive rowing moved forward Tuesday when the Sarasota County Commission unanimously agreed to bid on hosting the 2017 World Rowing Championships. The commission amended its tourism promotion budget to spend roughly $90,000 on consulting, travel and other costs associated with bidding on the event. The money will be spent regardless of whether the bid is awarded locally, but commissioners said the expected economic impact of up to $25 million from the the 17-day event is worth the cost.

Big Changes will greet baseball fans in Bradenton for 2013 Spring Training season
McKechnie Field, the near-century old grand dame of Florida spring training parks, has gotten a facelift. Her classic facade remains the same, at Ninth Street and 17th Avenue West, but $10 million worth of surprises await.

The Weekly “What to Watch For in Florida Sports,” is compiled by Florida Sports Foundation Director of Communications, Nick Gandy. Follow the Florida Sports Foundation on Facebook and on Twitter #fla_sports. Visit http://www.flasports.com for more information about the Florida Sports Foundation and the vibrant sports industry in the Sunshine State. Florida is Where The World Comes to Play.

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