Paradise Coast Sports Complex - Build it, and they will come
Build it, and they will come.
That was one of the signature lines in the Kevin Costner baseball movie “Field Of Dreams”, but it could also be applied to the sprawling, 175-acre Paradise Coast Sports Complex that is delivering countless experiences for athletes and fans alike in Collier County.
Emerging from what was dense native forest land just off State Road 951 (Collier Boulevard for those newer to the area) by Exit 101 at I-75, Paradise Coast Sports Complex is the crown jewel in the City Gate development.
Once City Gate is complete, it will house several hotels – including the Great Wolf Lodge set to begin construction in 2022 – as well as the massive, nearly 1-million-square-foot ULine distribution center.
A complex for all seasons
What makes Paradise Coast Sports Complex unique, not just to Collier County but all of Southwest Florida, is its sheer size and offerings for teams, tournaments and residents alike.
At $150 million once complete, Paradise Coast Sports Complex currently includes five full-sized artificial turf fields capable of hosting soccer, football, lacrosse and field hockey – the most impressive of which is inside the 3,500-seat PCSC Stadium that sports a gigantic video board.
The PCSC Stadium isn’t just for sports, either. Paradise Coast Sports Complex welcomed the Collier County Appreciation Concert featuring the Ben Allen Band in June 2020 to a near-sellout crowd that rocked out with Allen for over two hours before a massive fireworks show ended the evening.
The flexibility of the complex was on full display that weekend, too, as Naples United – one of three semi-professional soccer teams in the city that call PCSC home – played a match inside the stadium less than 24 hours after revelers packed the stands and enjoyed a night of entertainment.
In addition to Naples United, which competes in the National Premier Soccer League, the PCSC Stadium is home to United Premier Soccer League teams Naples City Football Club and the Azzurri Storm – which often plays doubleheaders on weekends in the spring and fall. Part of the allure of Paradise Coast Sports Complex to these teams is that PCSC Stadium also boasts locker room facilities for both teams and officials, and the covered main seating area offers suites for sponsors and guests.
Any given night at Paradise Coast Sports Complex shows its multi-faceted capability. Soccer teams practicing on one field next to a set of football cheerleaders working through routines on another, with lacrosse players learning the intricacies of their sport on a third.
One of Paradise Coast Sports Complex’s biggest partnerships has been with the Pop Warner football teams in the Peace River Conference, which comprises 19 youth football and cheer organizations from Naples through Lehigh Acres and up to Venice and Sarasota.
The five Collier County Pop Warner teams played home games in 2020 and 2021, and PCSC also hosted regional events at the facility. Each of Collier County’s five Pop Warner organizations have between 250 and 300 cheerleaders and football players.
Paradise Coast Sports Complex and Football University also enjoy a multi-year partnership that has FBU hosting six premier events at the complex throughout the year. Top Gun, which attracts more than 1,200 athletes annually for the four-day, invitation-only camp, is in July. And all-star teams from all over the country qualify to play for the right to be called the nation’s best at the FBU National Championship each December. During FBUNC week, 120 of the top student-athletes in their graduating class are chosen to play under the lights during the FBU Freshman All-American Bowl.
And all that action can happen either under the sparkling blue skies that make the Paradise Coast famous, or under a state-of-the-art LED lighting system by Musco that can create near-daylight conditions.
“We strive to make everyone feel welcome at Paradise Coast Sports Complex, and to give athletes, coaches, teams and fans that practice and play here a world-class experience,” PCSC interim general manager Adrian Moses said. “The vision of this complex is to support both Collier County as well as regional and national tournaments, and our staff works to offer a best-in-class venue. Our partners all share in this vision, and we are excited by the level of play they bring every time we open our gates to them.”
More growth to come
Ongoing construction of a new phase at Paradise Coast Sports Complex truly shows the magnitude. Five more full-sized multi-purpose fields will be paired with six baseball diamonds and five softball diamonds – all framed by a trio of lakes and plenty of parking.
Those fields, all artificial turf like the ones in Phase One, will be fully transformable to accommodate different sports – including shortening baselines on the diamonds for different levels of baseball and softball.
Don’t think Paradise Coast Sports Complex is about, well, just sports. The Cove beer and wine bar is set alongside a gorgeous lake that provides the kind of sunset views that make Southwest Florida famous. Live music entertains guests many nights, and food trucks – both the PCSC’s own “Fuel” truck and visiting vendors cooking up their delicious treats – makes every night unique at The Cove.
“Sunset Saturdays is a new Naples tradition,” PCSC Cove-meister Jimbo Mann said. “It is set in The Cove, with one of our famous local reggae bands even make the palm trees sway. Come down and enjoy it!”
Mann and his crew don’t just serve up great food and drink, as The Cove offers perhaps the most beautiful backdrop around to play on-site table tennis, cornhole or even giant Jenga. And if watching the big game at The Cove is more your thing, the PCSC Stadium’s giant video board has a twin – this one facing the Great Lawn and The Cove to broadcast sports on the biggest television in the county.
Next to The Cove is another area completely unique to Collier County – The Factory. Stocked with equipment and challenges to test even the fittest of souls, The Factory is an open-air weight room and fitness facility that provides beautiful sunrises each morning to feed your soul while also testing and improving your physical well-being.
“What’s unique about The Factory is that it’s the only outside gym facility in Naples!” Factory manager Aisha Denault-Sweet said. “I personally enjoy this facility because I’m able to watch the sunrise every morning. Not only am I really getting a great sweat out from a hard workout, but I’m also able to get a suntan while doing so. The members are fantastic, and everyone is always friendly/outgoing.”
The Factory’s Movestrong obstacle course is perfect for ninja warrior-style training, and equipment is available for Spartan and Tough Mudder training as well. Want just a serene place to run and warm up before hitting the weights? The Factory offers that as well! Daily, monthly and annual membership options are available.
Looking for a quiet, serene stroll? The lake next to The Cove has been expanded due to the Uline facility construction – with a wide, paved walkway winding around the one-mile lake’s edge the perfect spot to walk or run a few laps.
Smaller concerts, community events and even drive-in movies have found the Great Lawn at Paradise Coast Sports Complex the perfect spot to congregate and enjoy the area’s fine weather.
Poised for a huge 2022
Managed by Sports Facilities Companies, which operates similar venues throughout the country, Paradise Coast Sports Complex is poised to turn Collier County into a mecca of youth and amateur athletics.
Building off the success of last year, 2022 is shaping up to be a gigantic time for Paradise Coast Sports Complex. Among the signature events on the calendar is a concert by the band Air Supply on March 26 at the PCSC Stadium – allowing “AirHeads” and fans of great 1980s music a chance to rock out under the stars.
College lacrosse fans will have plenty to cheer about this spring, too, as Ohio State plays Harvard in a men’s game in the PCSC Stadium in late February, and the Yale women take on the Notre Dame women in mid-March.
Jeff Walters, the complex’s business development manager, called the relationship with the county a “dual partnership.”
“We’re in business with Collier County,” Walters said. “Collier County funded the project and we’ve been brought in to manage and program the facility.”
Another facet of what makes Paradise Coast Sports Complex special is proximity to just about everything. The complex is on the way to Marco Island via SR 951, and exit 101 is just 27 miles south of Exit 128, which leads motorists to Southwest Florida International Airport.
PCSC is also positioned right at the bend on I-75 heading to and from the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metroplex – allowing maximum airport flexibility for visiting teams and athletes as well as attracting competitors and visitors from the East coast.
“This complex is a shining star, and we are eager for everyone in Collier County to come out and find out just how great it is,” Moses said. “As we expand and realize the full vision of what Paradise Coast Sports Complex can be, we can’t wait to host all the events coming our way.”