17 tournaments and two sell-out weekends anticipated
While Opening Day in Major League Baseball has come and gone, April 21 is “opening day” at the championship-caliber Art Van Sports Complex (AVSC), officially kicking off its fourth tournament season with the USSSA Early Bird Spring Classic. This year features not only 17 tournaments and an estimated $5 million in direct visitor spending, but new facility additions like the Consumers Energy Picnic Pavilion, an additional storage building, and coming soon – batting cages (estimated completion in August).
Owned and operated by the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC), the AVSC is the only baseball/softball complex of its kind in West Michigan. Since opening in August 2014, the AVSC has contributed a cumulative $13.5 million in direct visitor spending to the region, hosting 53 tournaments over its first three seasons that attracted 1,954 teams, almost 25,000 athletes and 62,360 spectators who booked 21,482 hotel room nights.
“We are thrilled to be on the brink of another season with the AVSC,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission. “This complex is doing exactly what we’d hoped and more – drawing athletes and their families to West Michigan to not only enjoy our first-class athletic facilities, but spend their dollars here.”
2018 Season Features New Picnic Pavilion
A new feature this year is the recently completed Consumers Energy Picnic Pavilion, located off the drive between Quads A & B before approaching the Championship Field. The 24’ x 52’ lighted pavilion is constructed in the same wooden architectural style as the Championship Field canopy, holding 12 picnic tables that can accommodate up to three teams at a time.
Consumers Energy Foundation, one of the original donors to the Everyone Wins campaign during construction of the AVSC in 2012, generously stepped up as the lead donor of the pavilion. Additional donors include the Universal Forest Products Foundation.
“We couldn’t be more grateful to Consumers Energy Foundation for selecting the Art Van Sports Complex in 2012 when it was issuing grants across the state to celebrate its 125-year existence and commitment to the community. We’re so fortunate for this recent additional donation from both Consumers Energy Foundation and UFPI Foundation to improve our visitors’ experience through the construction of this picnic pavilion,” said Guswiler.
The WMSC anticipates that 2018 will be another strong year in terms of economic impact, with the 2018 tournament season estimated to generate another $5 million in direct visitor spending based on an expected 640 teams, 8,320 athletes and 20,800 spectators. The AVSC kicks off its 2018 tournament schedule this weekend with the USSSA Early Bird Spring Classic, the first of 17 tournaments booked between April and September. A few of the tournaments, such as the Game Day USA Majestic Prospect Games in June and Game Day USA National Championships in July (two weekends), will fill the complex to capacity (60 teams) and utilize additional fields outside the complex, with teams traveling from as far as Wisconsin, Illinois and Ontario.
Below is a list of confirmed tournaments between April and September:
• USSSA Early Bird Spring Classic, April 21-22
• Game Day USA National Youth Baseball Championships Qualifier, April 27-29
• USSSA Great Lakes Showcase, May 4-6
• USSSA Cinco De Mayo Shootout, May 5-6
• Game Day USA Super Regional, May 11-13
• USSSA Great Lakes Challenge, May 19-20
• 2018 USSSA Memorial Day Classic, May 26-27
• Game Day USA Rumble in the Rapids, June 1-3
• Game Day USA Majestic Prospect Games, June 8-10
• Game Day USA Silver Series Grand Championships – Grand Rapids, June 15-17
• Meijer State Games of Michigan Baseball Tournament, June 22-24
• Game Day USA Michigan State Championships, June 29-July 1
• USSSA Summer Blast, July 4-6
• Game Day USA National Championships Grand Rapids #1, July 12-15
• Game Day USA National Championships Grand Rapids #2, July 19-22
• ISSA-Canada Senior Border Battle, Aug. 3-5
•USA Softball Men’s Modified Pitch, Sept. 1
A full list of AVSC tournaments can be found at artvansportscomplex.com.
About the West Michigan Sports Commission: The nonprofit West Michigan Sports Commission works to identify, secure and host a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to make a positive impact on the economy and quality of life in the region. Since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 646 sporting events and tournaments that attracted more than 1 million athletes and visitors, generating $297 million in direct visitor spending. For more information, visit westmisports.com and Facebook.com/WestMichiganSportsCommission and follow @WestMiSports.
About the Art Van Sports Complex: A flagship project of the West Michigan Sports Commission, the Art Van Sports Complex is a championship-caliber baseball/softball complex near Rockford featuring eight baseball and softball fields, including the 385-foot fenced Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation Championship Field with covered grandstands to seat 1,000 spectators; Nate Hurwitz Miracle League Field for children with disabilities; warm-up areas, restrooms, concessions and maintenance building; and parking for more than 400 vehicles. Visit artvansportscomplex.com for more information.