By: Justin Pawlowski - on twitter: @Commishonline

Tampa Bay has become one of the main destinations for major sporting events, and rightfully so.

On Monday, it was announced that Raymond James Stadium will play host to college football’s 2017 national title game. Tampa also becomes the first city to host the national title game that does not currently host one of college football’s 6 major bowl games.

The five cities Tampa beat out for the 2017 game were San Francisco/Santa Clara, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, San Antonio, and Miami.

It takes a special group of people to lure major sporting events to the Tampa Bay area.

The Tampa Sports Commission led by executive director Rob Higgins has played as big a role as any in growing the Tampa Bay area with the major sporting events they bring to the area.

Higgins, just 34 years old, took over as executive director of the Tampa Sports Commission in 2004. Per the Tampa Sports Commission’s website, Higgins primary responsibility is to promote the development of community sports in the Tampa Bay area, as well as leading the Sports Commission as the principal organization that bids on and hosts sports and entertainment events in Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County.

During Higgins 9 1/2 years leading the Tampa Sports Commission, he has brought in the following events:

2007 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament

2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball First and Second Rounds

2008 NCAA Women’s Final Four

2008 and 2009 ACC Football Championships

2009 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament

2009 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship

2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball  Second and Third Rounds

2012 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four

***Higgins was also on the bid committee that landed the 2009 Super Bowl.

Over the next few years, Higgins has already been awarded the following:

2015 NCAA Women’s Final Four

2016 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four

2017 College Football National Title Game

Higgins has become the most valuable asset and ally this community has. As a graduate of Jesuit High School and the University of South Florida, Higgins roots dig very deep in the Tampa Bay area.

Tampa Bay continues to grow and be in the national spotlight with each major event that Higgins secures.

While the success of our local teams is still very important, the growth of our community and its economy is essential, and Rob Higgins should be thanked for his continual and successful efforts.


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