(BRANSON, Mo.) Feb. 13, 2020 – Over 9 million visitors flock to Branson, Missouri every year. They ride rollercoasters, enjoy concerts, shows, visit museums, and engage the unique landscape by hiking trails and boating on Table Rock Lake. Branson has long invested in tourism with the development of theme parks, auditoriums, museums, and a variety of food and beverage options. Three years ago the city capitalized on the sports tourism boom by engaging in a public-private partnership to develop the Ballparks of America Sports Complex.
Ballparks of America opened in the summer of 2016 featuring replicas of 5 classic ballparks. The ballparks – focused on youth baseball and softball – are two thirds scale replicas of Chicago’s Wrigley Field, Boston’s Fenway Park, St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, Detroit’s Tiger Stadium, and Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. Since opening, visitors to the Ballparks complex have produced an estimated $50 million in economic impact to the Branson area through various tournaments, events, and activities.
In February, Ballparks began a new chapter as a group of four local businessmen from Springfield, MO, Greg Snider, Paul Satterwhite, Dale Helle, and Steve Strobel, purchased the complex from the original developers and operators of the Ballparks of America tournament experience. Satterwhite and Snider were first introduced to Ballparks as coaches who brought their teams to play and stay at the complex’s facilities. Between them, the teams they have been involved with have played over 100 games at the complex. The ownership group is passionate about youth sports and its impact on children. “We have really enjoyed the overall experience that Ballparks has provided for our kids,” Snider commented. “The summer week-long events have allowed them to play against strong competition from across the United States and has provided them with an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
Hamilton Chang, a founder of Ballparks of America added, “We are proud to have developed Ballparks of America into an international brand and durable business for the city of Branson and the Ozarks region. The top-notch experience for families at the park and the economic impact to the region is something we know will continue to grow.”
Satterwhite, one of the new partners and Springfield attorney shared, “We are thrilled to build on the foundation created by previous ownership. We will integrate some fresh ideas from our experience of participating in and operating tournaments at Ballparks of America. Our ownership’s real estate development and construction background will also serve Ballparks well as we focus on optimizing the guest experience.”
Historically, the summer tournaments have attracted teams from the West Coast, East Coast, and even internationally. The complex hosts the Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth Major 70 World Series in August of each year among other prominent events. The new owners are working with the City of Branson to increase public opportunities at Ballparks of America while proactively partnering with local, regional, and national businesses to build on the substantial economic development that has flowed from Ballparks of America over the past three years.
As of early 2020, the new owners are already witnessing record-setting growth for the spring and summer tournament seasons. Even without implementing a significant marketing campaign, the summer tournaments are filling quickly and have already outpaced previous years’ registration, with registered teams from more than 25 states and multiple other countries. Many weeks are approaching capacity for the replica ballpark complex.
For more information about the weeklong Ballpark of America experience, to review availability, or register for a tournament; visit https://www.
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