After 19 years in Orlando, the U.S. Flag and Touch Football League is moving its national championship to Tampa, Florida, the organization announced this week. The lure: Otis M Andrews Sports Complex & Ellis-Methvin Park, a 16-field facility fully outfitted with lights.
Mario A. Durastante II, USFTL’s head of marketing, advertising and business development, says the complex’s size means competitors won’t have to travel between three different venues as was the case in Orlando—making scheduling much easier. It should accommodate the league’s growth for the next several years, says Durastante, who is expecting about 400 teams in January 2016 and aims to attract more than 600 in the future with new initiatives targeting west coast players.
He says they event has grown 10-12 percent each year for the past several years, in part because of the NFL’s support of flag football for youths. Adult and women’s programs have also seen a significant increase as well, Durastante adds. January’s event with be the league’s 45th national championship.
“We feel like it’s going to be a really good partnership for what we have,” says Durastante, who says the deal was largely put together at Connect Sports Marketplace last August.