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Summer Means Return of America's National Pastime

28 May, 2015


More Than 500 Teams Involving 8,600 Athletes Expected to Compete in 13 Major Baseball Tournaments

Palm Beach County is a nucleus for baseball, America’s national pastime. More than 500 teams involving over 8,600 athletes are expected to compete in 13 major baseball tournaments on a statewide, national, or global level in Palm Beach County this summer. The players, coaches and visitors will occupy an estimated 12,800 hotel room nights and generate over $6 million of economic impact for the local community. Due to the outstanding baseball facilities, the tropical climate and a strong résumé of prestigious baseball events, Palm Beach County has a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and hosting baseball tournaments and showcases. The summer of 2015 will bring excitement due to the world of amateur baseball, both on the field of play and off the field for the local economy.

Few communities have baseball venues like Palm Beach County's. Roger Dean Stadium, located in Jupiter, is home to the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, during the Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training season. Roger Dean Stadium is one of the premier spring training baseball complexes in Florida, consisting of a 7,000 seat stadium accompanied by 12 full size diamonds, which makes it capable of hosting the nation’s largest tournaments. Palm Beach County is also home to the Santaluces Athletic Complex, the former spring training facility for the Montreal Expos. Located in Lantana, this complex maintains a quad of major league baseball size fields.

Palm Beach County will be home to the most admired amateur baseball tournaments in the United States. USA Baseball will host two of its largest events at Roger Dean Stadium and the Santaluces Athletic Complex.   Over 110 teams consisting of more than 2,000 athletes from across the nation will compete in the USA Baseball National Team Championships and contend for titles in the 14U, 15U, and 17U age groups.   USA Baseball will conduct its National Team Championships over two weeks.  The 14U and 17U tournaments will take place on June 16-24, while the 15U tournament is slated for July 10-18. More than 350 baseball games will take place during the two-week stretch.  USA Baseball is expected to generate nearly 7,000 room nights and close to $4 million in economic impact.   This summer represents the second consecutive year that USA Baseball has hosted the National Team Championships for all of its age groups in Palm Beach County. USA Baseball is the national governing body for its sport, presiding over 12 million amateur players annually. USA Baseball scouts, recruits, and select players that compete in these tournaments to participate on its National Teams, which will represent the United States during international competition.  

The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is partnering with Team One Baseball to bring four of its nine Under Armour Team One National Tournaments to Palm Beach County. Roger Dean Stadium will host the Under Armour Memorial Day Classic on May 22-25, the Under Armour Southeast Championship on June 5-9, the Under Armour Firecracker Classic on June 29-July 3, and the Under Armour September Classic on September 18-20. These four Under Armour events are wood composite bat tournaments, attracting high-level 18U, 16U, and 14U travel teams from across the country. Following this talent is a substantial number of MLB and collegiate baseball scouts. These tournaments will attract an estimated 200 local and traveling teams, creating over 2,000 room nights and more than $1 million of economic impact for Palm Beach County.

The Police Athletic League (PAL) will host its annual invitational on July 24-29 at the Santaluces Athletic Complex and Florida Atlantic University. The event will attract 30 teams and 300 athletes from across the state. Proceeds benefit the Palm Beach County Police Athletic League, while offering top-notch competition with college and professional scouts and recruiters.

Cal Ripken Baseball will host 2 major tournaments at Gardens Park in Palm Beach Gardens during the summer of 2015. The tournaments include the Cal Ripken Baseball 12U State Tournament on June 25-28 and the Cal Ripken Baseball Rookie State Championship on July 3-6.  These tournaments will feature youth players from 7 to 12 years of age and attract over 50 teams and more than 800 youth athletes.   Cal Ripken Baseball will create over 1,300 room nights and $500,000 in economic impact. Cal Ripken Baseball is one of the most prestigious brands in amateur baseball for little leaguers and hosts hundreds of tournaments and camps annually, including the Cal Ripken Baseball World Series in Aberdeen, Maryland. Gardens Park is one of the premier youth baseball complexes in Palm Beach County, and the facility maintains 8 lighted youth fields and 7 batting cages.  

The National Wood Bat Travel Ball Association (NWTBA) World Championship will make its inaugural appearance in Florida on August 5-9.  Roger Dean Stadium and Gardens Park will be home to this international baseball tournament, which will feature over 60 teams from across the United States, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Canada, Panama, and the US Virgin Islands. This 5-day wood bat tournament provides a wide array of age groups that range from 11U to 18U.  Over 1,600 room nights and $800,000 in visitor spending is expected to be derived from the NWTBA World Championships. 

Whether it is wood bats or metal bats; highly talented travel teams; or little leaguers just learning to play the game, baseball fields across Palm Beach County will be active this summer. America’s pastime will have a presence that is not easily replicated anywhere else throughout the United States. These baseball events promote Palm Beach County as an elite youth baseball destination and are significant contributors to the sports tourism industry.

Below summarizes the projected impact derived from amateur baseball this summer:
•    13 amateur baseball tournaments with state, regional, national and international impact
•    Estimating 8,653 athletes (traveling and local)
•    Projecting over $6 million of economic impact derived from these tournaments
•    Projecting 12,850 room nights 
•    Projecting more than 1,000 baseball games
•    Age groups from 8U to 18U 
•    Tournaments will utilize up to 16 baseball fields at once with game start times ranging from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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