TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 24, 2014) – Today, VISIT FLORIDA – the state’s official tourism marketing corporation – and IMG announced that they have teamed up with two of the state’s top brands – the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles – to harness the passion associated with their storied rivalry games and direct it toward the promotion of travel throughout Florida.
In addition to the tradition-rich football game between FSU and UF on Nov. 29 in Tallahassee, VISIT FLORIDA is also sponsoring the “Share a Little Sunshine Showdown” matchups in basketball and all other Olympic sports. The partnership between VISIT FLORIDA, IMG and the Universities garners an increase in awareness for VISIT FLORIDA’s Share A Little Sunshine in-state tourism advocacy platform.
“Bringing together Florida’s leading industry and two of our top universities to promote tourism in our state is a win-win for everyone,” said Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. “These special rivalry games between Florida State and Florida provide a tremendous opportunity to tap into Floridians’ passion for college sports to help grow the state’s economy.”
Advice from friends and family is the most trusted source of travel planning information, with 26 percent of Florida’s domestic visitors each year coming to spend time with their friends and family. The Share a Little Sunshine platform was designed to engage Florida’s more than 19 million residents in supporting the state’s economy by personally inviting their loved ones to visit the Sunshine State.
“We are pleased to partner with VISIT FLORIDA for the third year in the “Share a Little Sunshine Showdown,” said Florida State University Athletics Director, Stan Wilcox. Our intra-state rivalry with the University of Florida has a long history of great competition, and we are happy to celebrate it with an equally great partner. There is no question that Florida is one of the top vacation destinations in the country. We are pleased to help expose all this wonderful state has to offer via one of the great rivalries in all of college sports.”
Since launching Share a Little Sunshine in 2009, fans have embraced the campaign spirit – with 65 percent of Floridians inviting friends and family to visit. Not only does the program motivate Floridians to serve as advocates in promoting tourism because it supports our economy and creates jobs, but it also encourages them to get out and enjoy the Sunshine State for themselves.
“It’s always exciting when the Gators and Seminoles renew our rivalry,” said Jeremy Foley, UF Director of Athletics. “And while we are opponents in competition, we stand together to promote Florida’s tourism industry, which is so essential to the health of our state.”
In addition to UF and FSU, VISIT FLORIDA has been partnering with two more universities – USF and UCF – throughout the football season to help spread the word about Share a Little Sunshine. By employing media assets such as radio, television, signage, social and digital, all four Florida schools have been encouraging their respective fan bases to share what they love about Florida by tagging social content with the hashtag #LoveFL. To date, more than 198,000 photos have been posted to Instagram alone since incorporating the #LoveFL hashtag into the campaign.
There are more than 10 million fans of Florida’s colleges and universities. Every visiting friend and relative trip adds an average of $931 directly into the state’s economy.
“Florida is the No. 1 travel destination in the world and home to the country’s best fans,” continued Seccombe. “We know every 85 visitors support one Florida job and, by rallying the state’s 10 million passionate college sports fans, together we can all have a huge impact on Florida’s economy.”