PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - The Charlotte Stone Crabs and the Tampa Bay Rays were honored as the Large Business of the Year by the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber's 92nd Annual Awards Luncheon on Friday, September 29. The annual event, held at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center, was attended by hundreds of local business leaders and honors businesses and non-profits for their achievements.
There were over 30 nominees for the small, medium and large businesses of the year. The awards committee chose the Stone Crabs and Rays Spring Training for the tireless work they do within and for the community while also providing a fun, exciting and affordable entertainment experience.
"Wow, this is beyond humbling and such a great honor," said Stone Crabs General Manager Jared Forma. "All you have to do is look at the other nominees and all the unbelievable work they do to understand what an honor it is just to be nominated, let alone to be selected for such a prestigious award. We cannot thank the Chamber and the Awards Committee enough for this honor." Forma Continued.
The 2017 seasons were a tremendous year at the Sports Park. Spring Training attendance was up for the 18 games played this year and the Stone Crabs attendance increased by over 25,000 people this season, their highest season total since 2011 and it included an all-time franchise single game attendance record of 7,515 on July 29, 2017. Above all else at the Sports Park, it's all of the community outreach, mascot and player appearances, involving the kids in countless programs, and giving back to the community that supports them that is most special.
"First off, this is an organizational and a community award," said Forma. "Without the great, dedicated part-time staff we employee this would not be possible. Without our community-first ownership group this would not be possible. Without the time and energy of the front office staff that I am so fortunate to have working at the Sports Park this would not be possible." Forma continued.
"And most importantly, without all of our great partners and fans, the greatest partners and fans a team could ask to have, this would not be possible. This is truly a community award that we, the community's team are humbly honored to receive." said Forma.
The 2018 Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training and Charlotte Stone Crabs schedules and ticket information will be released in the coming weeks.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.