Sand Key Sports Festival

CLEARWATER, Fla., Sept. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — In early 2012, Sheraton Sand Key Resort hosted the first annual Beach Tennis Open; a rather new sport in the United States. After great success and support from the St. Petersburg Clearwater Sports Commission, this event will now add more sports starting with “Ultimate.”

What, not sure what “Ultimate” is?

Ultimate is an exciting, non-contact team sport, played by thousands the world over. It mixes the best features of sports such as Soccer, Basketball, American Football and Netball into an elegantly simple yet fascinating and demanding game. In layperson terms, it’s pretty much like Frisbee.

Kevin Smith, Director of the St. Petersburg Clearwater Sports Commission and Sheraton Sand Key Resort’s General Manager Russ Kimball partnered up again this year to add additional sports to the 10-acre beach event and really raise the bar with more than one sport offering.

“This event will bring both professional and amateur players from all over the world to compete on our beautiful beach and enjoy a one-of-a-kind resort and some very unique and exciting beach-based sports competitions. Clearwater really is Florida’s sports town,” Smith said.

For those of you that might not know what beach tennis is either; it was created over 30 years ago in Italy and is rapidly gaining success in the United States as a competitive beach-based sport with hundreds of tournaments and increasingly large cash prizes.

According to whatisultimate.com, the sport originated in the 60s at college campuses and is currently played in 42 countries, with programs in Sweden, Norway, and Japan receiving government funding. It is estimated that at least 100,000 people play the sport worldwide, about half in the United States; it’s even a medal sport in the World games!

Steve Culver, Beach Tennis Pro and the Activities Coordinator for Sheraton Sand Key Resort said, “We were very excited to host the first G-2 Sand Key Beach Tennis Open last year; however, when we discussed the endless possibilities of adding additional and unique beach-based sports to a larger event, it was a win-win with our partners at St. Petersburg Clearwater Sports Commission. With$5,000 in prize money for the beach tennis open, it is a G-1 event, which makes it a world cup tournament this year!”

Sheraton Sand Key Resort is sponsoring the prize money for the Beach Tennis Tournament and the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF) is managing the “Ultimate” and will be handling prize money and tournament details. The FSF is a 501(C) 3 non-profit corporation, serving as the Sports industry development division of Enterprise Florida.

For entertainment, the Red Bull team will be out, Naked Turtle will be on hand mixing up cocktails, and a DJ will keep the music coming all afternoon. Event sponsors include IFBT (International Federation of Beach Tennis), Hooters, Big Frog, Smash Athletica, Sockwa, Penn, American Longboards, and Sundog.

For a complete schedule of events and sponsor information, please visit www.beachtennistampabay.net. For more information on special resort packages, contact Sheraton Sand Key Resort by phone at 800-456-7263