PANAMA CITY BEACH — It’s almost time to play ball.

With only four weeks remaining until it opens on July 8, the Panama City Beach Sports Complex already is booked solid with 47 sports tournaments scheduled between mid-August and the week before Christmas.

Sports Complex Manager J.D. Wood made the upbeat announcement on Tuesday at the monthly meeting of the Bay County Tourist Development Council, which has spearheaded the $38 million sports complex on a 160-acre tract north of Panama City Beach Parkway and Chip Seal Parkway.

“It’s amazing how quickly this is going up,” said project manager Elizabeth Moore of Anchor CEI, who said the final construction tasks to be completed by July 8 included paving the entrance roadway; completing installation of lighting; finishing work on several administrative and concessions buildings, and landscaping.

TDC director Andy Phillips praised the sports complex as a “world-class facility” that will greatly boost visitation to the area in the off-season. A 2017 study projected that in its first year of operation the playing fields will generate $876,000 in gross revenues, or $580,000 in income after expenses. The various sports events already confirmed on the facility’s calendar are anticipated to generate 37,000 “room nights” at area tourist lodgings, and will pump an estimated $13.9 million into Bay County’s economy.

In other business, the TDC received the monthly bed tax collection report for April 2019, which showed continued growth in Panama City Beach visitation over 2018. The county levies a 5-cent tax per dollar on tourist accommodations.

In April, tourism generated $1.758 million in tax revenues, a 3.13-percent increase over April 2018, said Tyler Miller, the TDC’s tax specialist. For the seven-month period spanning November 2018 through April 2019, revenues topped $11.6 million, an unprecedented 62.48-increase over the same period in 2017-18 that reflects in main the surge of first responders and contractors to the Beach after Hurricane Michael. Bed tax collections in Panama City and Mexico Beach remained below the previous reporting periods largely as a result of reduced rental availability, Miller said.

In a separate matter, TDC President Dan Rowe told the board that he and his counterparts in eight Panhandle counties are studying the possibility of forming a consortium to take over management of the Visit Florida visitor center on U.S. 231 at the Florida-Alabama border. Although the facility continues to operate after Visit Florida escaped full shutdown by the state legislature, Rowe said the agency’s uncertain long-term fate justifies a contingency plan. The center attracts more than 300,000 visitors a year, many of whom are traveling to Florida but have not yet made specific vacation plans, Rowe said.