Ripken Experience coming to Sports Park next year | Youth Sports

Ripken Baseball announced it will add its fourth Ripken Experience location in the United States through a partnership with Elizabethtown Sports Park.

Officially named The Ripken Experience Elizabethtown, Ripken Baseball will bring youth baseball and softball tournaments, plus week-long experiences, to the state-of-the-art complex starting in 2023, according to a news release from the baseball organization.

This year marks Elizabethtown Sports Park’s 10th anniversary since opening the complex, which has attracted 160,000 visitors annually. Within the past decade, Elizabethtown Sports Park has been responsible for generating $150 million in direct economic impact for the city, the release said.

Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau Executive Director Jana Clark, said getting this tournament was a “monumental announcement,” especially since the sports park will be the only location in Kentucky.

“With the Ripken Experience, we will become one of only four locations across the country,” she said. “They come with kind of the next-level experience for baseball and softball players.”

Clark said the bureau has been working with the Ripken team to develop destination packages as part of the experience.

“It’s super fun because they package,” she said. “It allows us to really promote our destinations.”

With the sports park expanding its offerings in the last 10 years, the city also has developed tourism destinations that guests to the park frequent, Clark said.

“When we first opened the sports park 10 years ago, there wasn’t nearly all the things there are to do today,” she said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to partner with a super strong brand in youth sports tourism and elevate our destination for visitors to do everything that’s fun in Central Kentucky.”

According to the release, with the goal of bringing even more teams and families to Elizabethtown, Ripken Baseball will host events on the 12 interchangeable baseball/softball turf fields.

“The fields and facilities at Elizabethtown Sports Park are in the top tier of youth complexes in America — a category I believe includes our other Ripken Experience locations across the country,” said Cal Ripken Jr., who founded Ripken Baseball with his brother Bill. “When we think about The Ripken Experience Elizabethtown, the key word is experience. Our teams and their families will be treated like big-leaguers, creating lifelong memories together.”

The Ripken Experience Elizabethtown joins Ripken Baseball’s lineup of youth sports destinations, including complexes in Aberdeen, Maryland; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Across its facilities, clinics and tournaments, Ripken Baseball hosts more than 120,000 participants and 350,000 guests from all 50 states and 12 countries annually, the release said.

“Bringing The Ripken Experience and the Elizabethtown Sports Park together creates the ultimate win for families and players,” Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory said in the statement. “The excitement and energy behind this partnership are exactly why we feel it’s a perfect fit for us and we look forward to welcoming teams and their families to our community.”

For more information on the tournament or to plan a trip to The Ripken Experience Elizabethtown, go to ripkenbaseball.com or call at 410-306-7575.

“We just cannot say enough about this (Ripken Experience) team and how much they truly value the visitor experience,” Clark said. “We’re looking forward to being their partners to grow this endeavor.”

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