The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Panama City Beach, FL. Sports Complex Opens Today !

Panama City Beach Sports Complex Opens Today

July, 2019


Panama City Beach’s new Sports Complex,managed by Sports Facilities Management (SFM), opens today, July 8. The brand-new $37 million complex will offer visitors on ‘play-cation’ a place to enjoy multiple sports and activities on its 13-field complex. The complex is already booked solid for the year with 48 tournaments scheduled between July 2019 and July 2020. Last week it was announced that a new Skate Park will be added to Chip Seal Parkway near the new complex, accessible to all members of the Panama City Beach community.

“Panama City Beach’s new Sports Complex will become the ultimate destination for sports in the southeast,” shares SFM General Manager of the Panama City Beach Sports Complex J.D. Wood. “We can’t wait to welcome athletes from all over the country to experience not only our new world-class facility, but our beautiful beaches and off-the-field activities as well.”

The Panama City Beach Sports Complex will feature nine turf fields, four natural grass fields, dedicated tournament buildings, two championship fields with seating up to 1,500 and over 1,000 parking spots. The complex’s flexible design will allow for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football, baseball, softball and more. The final construction tasks to be completed include paving the entrance roadway, completing installation of lighting, finishing work on several administrative and concessions buildings, and landscaping.

A 2017 study projected that in its first year of operation, the Panama City Beach Sports Complex will generate $867,000 in gross revenues, or $580,000 in income after expenses. The bookings already confirmed on the complex’s calendar are anticipated to generate 37,000 room nights at hotels in the area, bringing an estimated $13.9 million into Bay County’s economy. Details of the grand opening including special festivities for Bay County residents will be announced soon.

Panama City Beach’s Sports Complex is made possible through a public-private partnership with the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, St. Joe Company and Bay District Schools. More information on the new complex can be found at www.playpanamacitybeach.com. A link of renderings can be found here. If you are interested in booking tournaments or trainings, please contact J.D. Wood at jdwood@sportadvisory.com.

About Panama City Beach: Panama City Beach is situated on 27 miles of sugar-white sand beaches bordering clear, emerald-green waters where the Gulf of Mexico and St. Andrew Bay converge.  With 320 days of sunshine annually and attractions such as St. Andrews State Park and Pier Park, the region has long been favored by travelers seeking an affordable beach vacation with year-round offerings for families, couples, groups and adventure-seekers.  These include championship golf courses, spas, sporting events, award-winning dining and diverse recreational activities. In addition, Panama City Beach’s Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport offers non-stop flights on Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. For more information, call 850-233-5070 or visit the official website of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.  Live HD video of the world-famous beach is now available at http://www.visitpanamacitybeach.com/webcam/. Stay connected with Panama City Beach on Twitter (@Visit_PCB), Instagram (@Visit_PCB) and Facebook (@Visit_PCB).

About Panama City Beach Sports Complex: The Panama City Beach Sports Complex is located within the Breakfast Point development and is the premier destination for travel sports tourism in the Florida panhandle. The facility features 13 rectangular fields including nine with artificial surfaces and two championship fields with seating up to 1,500 spectators. The flexible design allows for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football and flag football, as well as baseball and softball to be played. The Panama City Sports Complex is a facility managed by Sports Facilities Management, LLC. For more information, visit:www.playpanamacitybeach.com

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“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

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SPECIAL MESSAGE: AUGUST 7, 2019 – Dear fellow ballfield professionals. !

SPECIAL MESSAGEAUGUST 7, 2019

Dear fellow ballfield professionals,

We’ve all seen the horrific headlines, images and stories of fans being struck by errant line drives and foul balls. While fans being injured isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon, that precise fact is really at the heart of the sentiment being expressed by so many in our industry:  “why is this continuing to happen?”

Answers typically vary from a reluctance to change the spectator’s view, to cost factors and the challenges of retrofitting netting to existing structures. But something has to be done. The game we love continues to stand at risk of being marred by serious, life-changing injuries to our friends, family and neighbors.

I share your concerns and we stand ready to help you answer the other unrelenting question:  “what can we do?”

Now is the time to improve fan safety, and we understand what needs to be done to achieve it. We have outfitted and retrofitted facilities with netting for decades, engineering systems for all levels of play. Together, let’s get this done to ensure all fans can safely enjoy the tradition of watching ballgames for decades to come.

Sincerely,

John Maher, Owner & CEO, Beacon Athletics
608-824-1547

Learn More
Contact Us

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

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The Danger of Artificial Turf Warning Tracks !

It’s about safety…

With the increase in artificial turf baseball and softball fields, one issue has really grabbed my attention — Warning Tracks!

Ballfield warning tracks are meant to keep players from getting hurt

Warning tracks have been a part of baseball/softball for decades. They serve a critical purpose in warning players that they are approaching a permanent fixture of some kind. When players are focused on catching a fly ball, they are looking up at the ball, not down at the field.  Fielders rely on a change of texture under foot to alert them that they are approaching immovable barriers along the perimeter of a playing field.

Artificial turf warning tracks don’t have a change of texture, only a change of color, which puts players at risk. A player engrossed in catching a ball is rarely going to think about looking down to see the change of turf color that notifies them they are on the artificial turf warning track and rapidly approaching an obstacle.  And therein lies the problem with the rapid proliferation of artificial turf ballfield.

Changing turf color just isn’t enough

Pretty much all artificial turf fields delineate the warning track by simply changing the color of the artificial turf. Unless a ballplayer is looking down when he approaches the warning track, he or she will have no other way to be warned of a potential collision with the wall. There’s no change in feel, like turf grass to warning track soil — not audible difference when your spikes hit the warning track material. It’s a purely visual difference. If I was a college or high school athletic director, I would be pressuring the artificial turf manufactures for a better solution to warn fielders of the danger. Ultimately, it comes down to those decisionmakers to look out for their players’ safety.

Ideal width of warning tracks

Warning tracks play a key role in the game and in the maintenance and upkeep of a ballfield. The standard rule of thumb for the width of a warning track is to provide a 3-step warning for a player who is running at full speed. This allows one step for the player to realize they are on a different textured surface and two additional steps to decelerate before impacting the solid object such as a fence. Since the age of a player is a fairly good indicator for length of stride at a full out run, use this chart for recommended outfield warning track widths per age group.

WARNING TRACK WIDTH
OLDEST AGE GROUP USING FIELD WIDTH OF WARNING TRACK
10 & under 8′ – 10′
11 – 12 10′ – 12′
13 – 16 12′ – 15′
17 & older 15′ – 18′

 

Warning tracks serve other purposes, too

On natural grass fields, warning tracks not only provide a safety feature to the field but they also provide a marked roadway for maintenance vehicles to travel on instead of on the grass. The correct size/width warning track also allows the foot traffic that exits the dugouts to spread out before stepping foot on the grass thereby reducing turfgrass wear. Warning tracks also reduce or eliminate maintenance of vegetation along and against walls and fences on the perimeter of the field.

But for the sake of player safety, let’s hope that turf manufacturers/installers and athletic directors pay more attention to this issue and address it before too many more faux artificial turf warning tracks are installed.

Learn About Building the Warning Track

Paul Zwaska

Paul Zwaska

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 with a Bachelor’s in Soil Science with a specialty in Turf & Grounds Management. Paul took over as head groundskeeper for the Orioles’ final season at old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and then was heavily involved throughout the design and construction phases of Oriole Park at Camden Yards which debuted on April 4, 1992. Paul has led Technical Sales Support at Beacon Athletics since the summer of 2000. In 2012, Paul authored and oversaw the launch of “Groundskeeper University”, the first online ballfield maintenance training venue. Over the years, Paul has donated thousands of hours working with West Madison Little League, which also plays a critical role in the research and development for many of Beacon’s innovative field maintenance tools.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

It’s Never To Late To Save Your Program Money !
Check Out Our Insurance Program Today !

* ( 16 Different Amateur Sports ) *

( Officials, Tournaments, & Facilities ) *

1-800-622-7370

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

www.sadlersports.com/soda

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

www.sportsplexoperators.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Proudly Serving The USA/Canada 

Since 1981”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .