Sports Force will focus on an overall entertainment experience

Published 7:21 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Vicksburg’s sports complex is being built as a facility to handle multiple sporting events and provide an overall entertainment experience for families, a representative for Sports Force Parks said.

“We focus on the sports aspect,” said Will Spence, regional manager for Sports Force Parks, which manages the park, known as Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi. He said the park is expected to be completed in Feb. 2019, adding the project is two days ahead of schedule.

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“We build a facility, (and) all are built to NCAS, National Consortium for Academics & Sports,

safety standards. From the family perspective, we actually learn a lot from building the parks; we’re going to have a miniature golf course and interactive games,” he said.

“We focus on the fun, and the fun is beyond our park; it’s really what comes into Vicksburg. It’s engaging the community. The teams coming to the area playing sports, learning fellowship, and then building some great memories, whether it’s taking in time at the hotel or the hotel pool, or seeing things that are in the area or eating in the restaurants. That’s what we focus on — sports being fun.”

Part of that experience, Spence said, is building adaptive fields for sports programs for disabled children to give them the experience of participating in games like soccer, kickball and T-ball.

“We don’t do them on a Tuesday or a day when nothing’s going on,” he said. “We try to do them when there’s other events going on, so they get the full scope of all the energy that goes on in the park. You put 3, 4, 5,000 people in the park on a Saturday afternoon, there’s a lot of great energy; a lot of fun.

“The main focus is what we do for tens of thousands of other events. … We’re really an entertainment facility, and a facility where we want to bring different events. We look for opportunities here to try and bring more acts to the park.

“We’re excited to be in Vicksburg, we’re excited to be able to bring this great model to Vicksburg, but it’s not just about the teams that are coming. We’re also embracing the local aspect,” he said, adding the facility will host local baseball, softball and soccer organizations.

Spence said Sports Fields, the parent company of The Sports Force and Sports Force Parks, has been in business for more than 15 years.

“We are experts in building grass fields and also synthetic fields; we are the pre-eminent field builder,” he said. “Building fields transitioned into the sports operating business. Our first park was Sports Force Park in Sandusky, Ohio.” The company, he said, operates various sports tournaments, focusing in baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse.

Synthetic turf, he said, means no rainouts, and allows sports organizations to plan events and not worry about rain.

“It’s part of our mission of trying to get kids active, get kids playing sports, and allow them to do all the things involved with that,” he said. “That’s what drives us as an organization.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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