Home Business SEC Tournament Draws Thousands to Escambia County

SEC Tournament Draws Thousands to Escambia County

The Southeastern Conference Women’s Soccer Tournament is already drawing thousands of attendees to Escambia County’s Ashton Brosnaham Athletic Park, with approximately 3,200 attending the tournament during the first two days.

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The SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament kicked off Oct. 29 and runs through Nov. 5, starting with 10 SEC soccer teams that have been narrowed down to four teams competing for the SEC Championship title.

This marks the second year in a row that Ashton Brosnaham Athletic Park has served as the location for the SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament, with last year’s event drawing record-breaking attendance and generating $2.5 million in local economic impact.

Tickets for the remaining games are available for purchase online.Click here for ticket information.

“We’re very excited to host the SEC tournament again at Escambia County’s Ashton Brosnaham Park, right in the heart of District 5,” Escambia County District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry said. “The attendance numbers are already demonstrating this event’s incredible impact, and I look forward to seeing the final economic impact to our entire region. I hope all of the players, coaches, and visitors enjoy the tournament and their time here in Escambia County.”

The four teams remaining in the tournament are Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi State and Texas A&M, with semifinals scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 2 and the championship game scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. Visit the SEC Sports website for game details.

“The excitement for this tournament is spreading quickly, so I encourage people to get their tickets early before they sell out,” Pensacola Sports President and CEO Ray Palmer said. “It’s been a great first half of the tournament, and I know it will only get more exciting as we enter the semifinals and championship game this weekend.” 

Several local schools took field trips to Ashton Brosnaham to watch the SEC games on Oct. 31, with students from Beulah Middle School, Lipscomb Elementary School and McArthur Elementary School showing their support for the teams. 

This year, SEC teams have been able to take advantage of the brand-new locker rooms at Ashton Brosnaham Athletic Park, which are part of a new two-story facility for community use at the popular athletic complex. Escambia County and Pensacola Sports celebrated a ribbon cutting Oct. 18 for the new facility, which will also serve as additional locker room space for other sporting events including local youth, high school and college soccer.

Features at the new facility include restrooms and showers for team sports use, an open space with sliding walls on the first floor, and meeting and office spaces on the second floor. The open space on the first floor will be available for rent and can be used for meetings, birthday parties and other community events.

SEC Assistant Director of Competition Marcus Bishop said the new locker rooms have been a big hit with the teams, and he praised the great partnership between the SEC, Escambia County Parks and Recreation, and Pensacola Sports. 

“The investments that they’ve made and adding the new multipurpose facility has been great,” Bishop said. “I know our teams have taken notice of that and been very appreciative of having access to that…I’ve heard nothing but glowing things from our teams when it comes to the practice fields and obviously the match field as well.” 

Last year’s SEC Women’s Soccer Tournament champions, the University of South Carolina, played their first game in the 2023 tournament Tuesday afternoon and were eliminated in a 1-0 loss to Texas A&M. 

South Carolina Head Coach Shelley Smith said that although the goal is always to win, she and her team were excited to be back in Pensacola for the second year in a row.

“I think it’s a great place to come, it’s a beautiful area, so I think it makes it that much more exciting for teams to even get to reach the beach and compete,” Smith said. “Even though competing is a big draw and you want to win a championship, it’s nice to be in a place where you want to spend some extra time.”

Smith said the improvements made to Ashton Brosnaham Park from last year to this year have made the tournament an even better experience for the teams, from the additional seating for fans to the new locker rooms right next to the field. 

“There are improvements that have been made here that really has made this an even better venue this year – you can tell already when you drive in,” Smith said. “SEC has done a great job to run a wonderful tournament and provide a great experience for our players. Pensacola has been a wonderful host to us and welcomed all the teams and the crowds here. It was a great start last year, and it’s even better moving forward with all of these new improvements.”

Bishop said he’s excited to see the rest of the tournament play out and see which team earns the SEC title this year. 

“We always get really excited about crowning champions, and it helps when you have great partners in the community that want to be a part of it as well,” Bishop said. “We have a very, very tough conference when it comes to the teams who participate, so we’re excited just to see what’s going to happen. There’s no telling who’s going to come out on top.”