"The Big Event" - South Florida Welcomes MLB All-Star Game - South Dade News Leader: Opinion

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"The Big Event" - South Florida Welcomes MLB All-Star Game

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Posted: Friday, July 7, 2017 11:56 am

South Florida is a special place. The wonderful weather, beautiful beaches, year-round events, thrilling nightlife and vibrant culture, makes it like no other place in the entire country or even the world. Not to mention there are more than six million people from all different walks of life who call South Florida home, making it an even more fascinating wonder to enjoy every day.

The magnificence of this area certainly doesn’t go unnoticed, as families and friends from all over the world continue to make South Florida a prime destination when planning vacations. In fact, Miami-Dade County alone welcomed close to 16 million tourists in 2016.

Though many tourists come to enjoy the extravagant golf courses in Palm Beach, the waterfronts in Broward, the colorful street life in Miami and the deep sea fishing in the Keys, South Florida also welcomes visitors for a number of big events. Year round, South Florida plays host to music and food festivals, concerts and professional sporting events just to name a few.

And coming up next week, South Florida will open its doors to one of those major sporting event, when MLB brings its Home Run Derby on Monday, July 10 and the All-Star Game the following day to Marlins Park for the first time. The two-day event will feature the game’s brightest stars from the National League and American League, including Miami Marlins players Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Bour and Marcell Ozuna.

The 88th Midsummer Classic is just one of a long list of large-scale sporting events to come through the South Florida area over the last few decades. In fact, the run consists of a number of championship-level events, including two World Series, three NBA Finals, a NHL Stanley Cup Final and 10 Super Bowls. The 11th NFL championship game is set to return to South Florida in 2020 for Super Bowl 54.

When the MLB festivities commence on Monday with the Home Run Derby, guests will fill up Marlins Park to witness one of the greatest shows in sports. The Home Run Derby is always exciting because of the mammoth home runs belted by some of the league’s top sluggers. And watching these athletes hit as many baseballs as possible over the park’s fence creates a sense of awe and admiration from the fans in attendance. The atmosphere will be even more electric when Stanton, the defending Home Run Derby champion, comes up to bat in front of his home crowd to battle against rookie phenom Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.

Then on Tuesday, MLB’s best players will take the field in a battle of juggernauts to decide which of MLB’s two leagues rules supreme. The Miami Marlins fan base will have some of their own players to cheer on, including Ozuna who will start for the National League All-Star team in the outfield.

It will be a spectacle. The Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will bring sports fans from all over the map to South Florida who will be looking to enjoy baseball, in addition to the many amenities this area has to offer. It will also give residents the opportunity to show off their exceptional hospitality when it comes to hosting events in this area.

The point is, nobody does big events better or more often than South Florida, both in planning and execution. So when talking about the All-Star Game festivities coming up, I can’t help but bring up our very own Ford Championship Weekend, which we are looking forward to celebrating once again this November for the 16th consecutive year.

People from all 50 states, not to mention more than 25 countries, come to experience the three-day tradition, which crowns champions in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. And with Ford Championship Weekend taking place November 17-19 this year, it is the third straight year in which it will be held the weekend immediately preceding Thanksgiving, giving out-of-towners even more of a reason to remain in our area well past the conclusion of the Monster Energy Series Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race on Sunday, November 19.

Like the MLB All-Star Game, there is always a great deal of anticipation and buzz leading up to Ford Championship Weekend. Even from the start of the NASCAR season, fans, drivers and those around the industry are talking about getting to Miami for the championship race. And when they do arrive, you can’t help but hear the positive chatter about all of the amenities South Florida has to offer. Everyone loves it because they get to witness an electrifying championship event while enjoying paradise. The combination is very appealing, and it has attracted a capacity crowd for the Ford EcoBoost 400 each of the last three years. We fully expect to do the same this year as the allure of Ford Championship Weekend continues to escalate.

When you really think about it, the fact that we are able to bring such big sporting events to our community is special. Events like the MLB All-Star Game and Ford Championship Weekend are integral parts in aiding Miami-Dade County’s continual growth. The track alone generates more than $301 million in economic benefit to the area, with a large portion of this annual infusion coming from Ford Championship Weekend.

South Florida has become the No. 1 site for big events throughout the sporting world, and hopefully it will continue to be for decades to come, as there is no better destination for fans and visitors alike.

NASCAR ACTION THIS WEEKEND

Saturday, July 8 at 7:30 PM (ET)

Monster Energy NASCAR Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

Tune In: NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

Friday, July 7

at 8:00 PM (ET)

NASCAR XFINITY Series Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway

Tune In: NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90

*The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series raced on Thursday,

July 6 and will continue July 19*

UPCOMING EVENTS AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

July 7

Fast Lane Friday presented by The Ticket Clinic

July 8 Performance Driving Group

July 9

Chin Motorsports Car Club

July 14

High Performance Driving Group

July 15

Miami Exotic Auto Racing

July 16

High Performance Driving Group

2017 HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY NASCAR DATES

Nov. 19

Ford EcoBoost 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race

Nov. 18

Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series Championship Race

Nov. 17

Ford EcoBoost 200 Camping World Truck Series Championship Race

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