Here is a link to the original story on the team's website.
During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the Blue Wahoos became innovators and award winners.
Those elements were honored Feb. 24 during the annual Pensacola Sports Awards Banquet at the Pensacola Yacht Club, sponsored by Cox Communications.
The Blue Wahoos received the Sports Tourism Award for 2020, after creating the nation’s first Airbnb experience at a ballpark in a year without baseball, along with the other creative ways to bring people to Blue Wahoos Stadium and fulfill the team’s mission to improve the quality of life in the Pensacola community.
Blue Wahoos vice president Alex Sides accepted the award on a special night celebrating the varied success stories with athletes and teams in the Pensacola area. Pensacola Sports was founded in 1955 and is the oldest sports association in Florida.
Pensacola Sports created the Sports Tourism Award several years ago as a way to recognize an organization or group of individuals who make a significant contribution to generating tourism to Pensacola and advancing the community’s awareness.
The Blue Wahoos were able to do that in a number of ways in 2020, after all levels of Minor League Baseball were cancelled prior to the 2020 season due to the first onslaught of COVID-19. The team’s front office staff went to work to transition into an events company and Airbnb experience.
In a time where family entertainment options were greatly limited, the Blue Wahoos staged more than 200 events, along with the 75 nights of Airbnb guests from 30 different states.
It earned the Blue Wahoos the Bob Freitas Award from Baseball America as the Double-A organization of the year. The Blue Wahoos also earned the prestigious Golden Bobblehead Award for best overall promotion during the MILB Innovators Summtt, held virtually in 2020.
At the Feb. 24 Pensacola Sports banquet, event emcee Dan Shugart recognized all of the achievements and provided the gathering with awareness of how the Blue Wahoos survived a year without baseball.
The team also won other awards that year.
Team owners Quint and Rishy Studer decided in April 2020 not to reduce staffing or lay off employees and were able to keep the entire front office staff employed the entire year.
The Blue Wahoos have been able to attract visitors from across the country, either to attend games, or simply visit the stadium during non-event days to browse in the team store or simply walk around and experience the bayfront stadium.
The Blue Wahoos were joined by Five Flags Speedway, winner of the 2021 Sports Tourism Award, in earning recognition for impact in the community.