Tampa Bay Area Events: Tampa Bay Sports CommissionThe sport of softball will continue to play a integral part of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission's amateur event calendar in 2009. With a combined 17 youth and adult softball tournaments scheduled to take place in Hillsborough County, the softball market has asserted itself as one of the Commission's top markets. At the forefront are two organizations, the National Softball Association (NSA) and Florida Half Century Amateur Softball Association (FHC).

Florida Half Century (FHC) is an adult softball association set up to provide competitive tournaments for softball players ages 50 and over. FHC is broken up in to four age divisions: 50+, 60+, 65+, and 70+, with monthly tournaments provided for each division. In 2007, Tampa Bay hosted two FHC tournaments, which generated more than 500 room nights per tournament. Tampa Bay is excited to bring in five FHC tournaments in 2009, including their state championships in December, which will feature over 80 teams.

Florida NSA Youth Softball is an organization comprised of over 300 girls softball teams spanning across the state of Florida. Tampa Bay will play host to 11 Florida NSA Youth Softball tournaments in 2009, including both the State A and State B Championships. This marks the first time that the Commission has hosted both Championships in the same calendar year.

Over the past two years, the Commission has hosted each state championship and noted that they each produce approximately 1,200 room nights on average. The Commission has partnered with NSA to host several new initiatives including the Wilson DeMarini Classic (May) and the Mizuno Classic (August) as well. Both tournaments are expected to each draw over 90 teams in their first year and they come at a time during a traditionally slower tourism period for Tampa Bay.

Click here for a list of the 17 softball events taking place in Tampa Bay this year: