Sarasota Co prepares for World Rowing Championship

- The World Rowing Championships will be held at Nathen Benderson Park this September in Sarasota County.

The event is considered the Super Bowl of rowing events. Hundreds of rowers will compete to be named the best in the world.

The event will also put an international spotlight on the Sarasota-Manatee County area.

Nathan Benderson Park has made a name for itself as a world-class rowing facility.

“This is the top rowers in the world showing up in Sarasota with all of their friends and family to support them,” explained 2008 rowing Olympian Lindsay Shoop.

Shoop has raced all over the world, but never in the US. For the first time in more than 20 years, the World Rowing Championships will be held at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota County.

“Having an event like the World Rowing Championships back on our home soil gives us an opportunity to have our family our friends to be there for us," Shoop said.

The event is expected to host athletes from 60 different countries and draw in more than 40,000 visitors to the area.

“In every other country in the world, rowing is a sport that is extremely popular. They will bring their whole contingent wherever they go. There will be huge support groups for all of the other countries who are racing," Shoop said.

Those racers and fans will bring a major economic impact. Race directors expect more than $25 million to be spent during the week in the Sarasota-Manatee area.

“We are going to be on prime time in Europe for over 100s of hours of television coverage of them not only seeing Nathen Benderson Park but seeing the community at large and the people who are a part of it,” 2017 World Rowing Championships Executive Director Meredith Scerba said.

For many athletes, the championship can one day lead them to the Olympics. While it's still more than 100 days away, they're counting down the time until they race back on home soil.

“Being here in the United States gives us an opportunity to have the biggest fan base going go, ‘USA! USA! USA!’ and that's one of the most exhilarating experiences you can ever fathom in your life,” Shoop said.

Tickets for the Championship went on sale Friday. They can be purchased at the UTC mall’s customer service kiosk.

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