With its theme parks, conventions and resorts, Central Florida is the world's No. 1 tourist destination.  Sport-related events throughout Central Florida are also popular despite the tough economy that we are currently experiencing.  Sport-related events throughout Central Florida totaled $53 million for 2009 and statewide, sports are an estimated $36 billion per year industry and employs more than 400,000 people.

Some of the local major business executives who head up some the the major sports events, teams and organizations that call Central Florida home are:

 Orlando Magic COO, Alex Martins: The NBA's Orlando Magic is the driving force behind the $380 million Amway Center that is scheduled to open in downtown Orlando later this year.  The team sold out all of its games and competed in the NBA finals in the 2008-2009 season.

Professional golfer Arnold Palmer:  The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge hosts some of the biggest professional golfers and attracts 100,000 attendees for seven days.

International Speedway Corp. CEO Lesa France Kennedy:  The publicly traded firm (Nasdaq: ISCA) owns racetracks and promotes major motorsports events including NASCAR and Grand Am races.

Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan:  The nonprofit organization promotes sports tourism in Central Florida.  Among its signature events is the collegiate Champs and Capital One bowl games which attracted  56,767 and 63,025 attendees this past year, respectively.  The games also ranked in the top 12 college bowl games based on viewer ratings.

Disney Sports Enterprises; Ken Potrock:  The firm oversees the operation of the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at the Walt Disney World Resort, which hosts several popular events drawing thousands of participating athletes and fans. Events include: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Disney Soccer Showcase and the Old Spice Classic basketball games.




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