SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER
For the second year, Daytona Beach will host the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Football National Championship game in December. The title contest will be played on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. at the 10,000-seat Municipal Stadium operated by the City of Daytona Beach.
The game will mark the second annual game of a three-year agreement to host NAIA’s national championship game. The championship game in 2014 featured a game between Southern Oregon and Marian (Indiana), with Southern Oregon winning by a score of 55-31.
This year’s game will be broadcast nationally. In 2013, the city partnered with the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to secure the marquee event, which will also return in 2016.
“The NAIA is extremely excited about year two in Daytona Beach,” said Austin Bennett, NAIA Associate Director of Championship Events. “The city and CVB rolled out the red carpet last year, and we’re looking forward to giving another set of student-athletes, coaches and fans a similar experience.”
The championship game is projected to realize over $1 million in economic impact and generate 1,000 hotel room stays in the Daytona Beach area. These economic impact thresholds were exceeded in 2014.
“The City of Daytona Beach and our partners provided a first-class experience for everyone involved last year – from the coaches, student athletes, fans and our community – and we look forward to doing the same this year,” said Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick L. Henry. “We want to build on last year’s successful event and make 2015 even better.”
“This national event shows that Daytona Beach can deliver on a large scale while maintaining a great guest experience for the individual participants and their families,” said Tom Caradonio, executive director of the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium, also known as Larry Kelly Field, was built in 1988 and has seen a variety of sporting events during its lifetime. Recently the stadium has undergone $2.3 million in upgrades including the installation of field turf, renovations to its bleachers, locker rooms, press area and a new video board and sound system. The stadium is the home field of NCAA Division I Bethune-Cookman University alongside several local high schools.
For more information about the game in Daytona Beach, visit http://bit.ly/NAIARaceToDaytona2015.