Monster Job Creation
A few more monster trucks and supercross vehicles could be roaming the streets of Southwest Florida soon. Feld Entertainment announced it will move its Motor Sports Division—including Monster Jam, Arenacross and Supercross—to its Manatee County corporate headquarters.
In addition to bringing more raucous edge to the region’s growing sports character, the move, expected to create at least 200 jobs over the next five years, was heralded by Gov. Rick Scott as an exciting economic opportunity. “This great news is on top of their recent move of their global headquarters to Florida from Virginia in 2013,” Scott said in a statement. “We look forward to Feld Entertainment’s continued success in Florida.”
Stephen Payne, vice president of communications for Feld, said this move largely completes a consolidation of non-touring divisions for the company that was envisioned when the company built its Ellenton campus, which already houses parts of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice and Disney Live. A Monster Jam garage already operates here. “The goal was to have as much of the company as possible under one roof and get a cross-pollination of ideas. That way if someone at Monster Jam thinks of something that may not work for Monster Jam but would be perfect for the circus, we can do that.”
Feld already employs 408 people in its Southwest Florida facilities. That total puts the company two years ahead of a hiring schedule promised when it accepted local and state tax incentives to move to the area, according to Sharon Hillstrom, president and CEO of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation. “As a global brand, Feld’s continued expansion here further validates the Bradenton area’s viability as a location for businesses with international scope,” Hillstrom said.
It also means further public commitment betting on the company’s success. Feld Entertainment qualified for county and state performance-based incentives totaling $2 million. The State of Florida has committed to a Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund of $1,120,000, while Manatee County Government approved up to $880,000. To earn the incentives, the company must add 200 new jobs over the next five years; Payne said the moving of operations out of its current division headquarters in Aurora, Illinois will be phased over the next few years. The average wage of jobs created must be twice the average wage in Manatee County, or $72,000. Payne also said the move will likely reuqire an expansion of facilities.