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City News Blog: City Manager Shawn Sherrouse Regarding April 21st Announcement From Florida Tropics

LAKELAND, FL (April 22, 2023) | While the City was not aware of the timing of this announcement by the Florida Tropics, we understand their decision that has come following more than a year of negotiations.  At the expiration of the annual agreement that existed between the City and the Tropics last year, the City notified the Tropics of our intent to explore options to increase related revenue for the recurring seasons of the Florida Tropics and the Lakeland Magic, both requiring large blocks of scheduled dates in the Jenkins Arena at the RP Funding Center. 

Multiple options to accomplish this were discussed and considered.  Last July, the City of Lakeland received a Letter of Intent for Negotiation from Tropics CEO and Owner, Dr. Iakovidis, with a Final Agreement “target date” of September 1, 2022.  Understanding the City’s intention to increase related revenue, the letter suggested a Tropics partner “who wishes to acquire the naming rights of the facility” for a five-year term worth $2.5 million.  The letter proposed a 50/50 split of the naming rights revenue between the City and the Tropics.  This arrangement would have met the City’s intent over the proposed five-year term.  However, following several conversations with the Tropics partner, nothing materialized.  Subsequently, negotiations between the City and the Tropics continued with the City’s same intent of producing greater revenue.

For Fiscal Year 2022, the City’s RP Funding Center profit and loss statement related to the 15 game Tropics season resulted in a net loss average of $1,349 per game.  Following an increase in use fee (rent) and other adjustments for Fiscal Year 2023, through nine Tropics games, the RP Funding Center profit and loss has yielded a net profit average of $2,535 per game.  By comparison, some recent graduations, cheer, and dance events have produced an average revenue range of between $10,559 to $18,750 per day and were two-day events. 

The City of Lakeland continues to maintain extremely healthy relationships in the major sports industry with our Detroit Tigers Spring Training partnership.  This 2023 Spring Training season brought over 100,000 baseball fans to our Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Prior to COVID, a study by the Florida Sports Foundation reported a positive economic impact of over $55 million to the Lakeland economy, per Spring Training season.

The City of Lakeland is eager to seek new events for the Lakeland community that will draw larger crowds to the RP Funding Center.  We appreciate our partnership with the Florida Tropics in our joint effort to build a soccer fanbase at the RP Funding Center over their past seven seasons.  We certainly wish them well in their continued efforts.   



Kevin Cook
Director of Communications
City of Lakeland

About Lakeland

The City of Lakeland was incorporated in January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida.  With a current population of over 100,000 Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years.  With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor.  The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 115 years ago. 

For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please visit www.lakelandgov.net.  Citizens are also invited to follow the City on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat and Nextdoor.  Citizens can find the City of Lakeland on these social media platforms by searching lakelandgov. 



For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please explore LakelandGov.net.
Citizens are also invited to follow the City on social media.