Leesburg Parks & Recreation Receives Excellence in Sports Tourism Award

LEESBURG, Fla. (Sept. 10, 2020) – Leesburg’s Parks and Recreation Department received the 2020 “Excellence in Sports Tourism, Small Market” award from the Florida Recreation and Parks Association. The award, accepted by Parks and Recreation Director Travis Rima at the FRPA Awards and Installation Banquet on September 2, recognizes the city’s efforts to support sports tourism.

Leesburg was nominated for the award by the Greater Orlando Sports Commission.  The nomination form cited the city’s $11.2 million investment in upgrades to Venetian Gardens which has helped make Leesburg one of the top venues in the southeast for hosting local, regional, and national fishing events. The commitment of time and resources by staff to ensure the expectations of event organizers are met and the importance of the partnership between the elected officials of Leesburg and Lake County was also noted.

“This award is a great achievement for not only the Leesburg Recreation Department, but for the entire City of Leesburg. Attracting and retaining sports tourism events is a team effort that starts with the leadership from the Mayor and Commissioners and our City Manager, Al Minner,” said Rima. “The Lake County BOCC, Greater Orlando Sports Commission and Visit Lake are also an integral part of the process.”

In the last fiscal year the city partnered with Visit Lake and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission to host seven fishing tournaments that generated nearly $5 million in economic impact to the area. In the coming months, additional major fishing events are scheduled to take place at Venetian Gardens and the Harris Chain of Lakes including the 2020 Carhartt Bassmaster College Team Championship and the 2020 Bassmaster Team Championship.

“On behalf of our staff and board of directors, we offer a heart-felt congratulations to the City of Leesburg’s Parks and Recreation Department that was recognized by their industry peers who voted on this prestigious award,” said Jason Siegel, President & CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission. “It is a well-deserved win for their outstanding and dedicated team led by Parks Director Travis Rima. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Parks Department and the City of Leesburg to bring events, visitors and economic impact to the region.”

Rima commended the numerous city staff members from Recreation, Public Works, IT and Leesburg Police and Fire departments who put in countless hours to ensure the success of these events. He added that the welcoming attitude from the community is crucial. “The residents of Leesburg and Lake County along with our businesses, hotels, etc. are the icing on the cake that continues to bring fishermen/women from across the globe to our city,” said Rima.

The Harris Chain of Lakes spans over 50,000 acres and includes lakes Dora, Eustis, Griffin, Harris, Little Harris, Carlton and Beauclair. These lakes make up some of Florida’s most popular sailing, boating and water-skiing destinations and are also home to some of the top bass fishing not only in Florida, but the country.


Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 23,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water and wastewater public utilities. Leesburg is also a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday. For more information, visit www.leesburgflorida.gov.


GO Sports is a private, non-profit organization established to attract and manage sports-related events, conferences and activities that drive positive economic development in the City of Orlando, Lake County, Orange County, Osceola County, and Seminole County. Founded in 1993, the organization has hosted or co-hosted more than 1,400 events in the Greater Orlando area with a total economic impact exceeding $1.78 billion in spending within the community. For more information, please visit GreaterOrlandoSports.com.