Inside INdiana Business is reporting what started as a baseball tournament for 72 teams in Westfield in 2016 has grown into a multi-million- dollar economic driver, drawing nearly 8,000 ballplayers to Grand Park Sports Campus and earning the tourney organization top national honors.
Bullpen Tournaments and the city of Westfield were named a 2019 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism by Sports Destination Management, a national publication for sports events planners and tournament directors.
During its first year, Bullpen’s Amateur Baseball Championships easily surpassed its initial goal and welcomed 245 teams, ages 14-17, from 11 states. The now invitation-only event receives more than 300 requests to play during the first week of registration.
This year, the event ran three weeks and brought 465 teams with 7,830 athletes playing a total of 1,165 games at Grand Park, according to Bullpen Tournament President Blake Hibler.
“Our tournament, Grand Park and Westfield have become a part of their baseball lives and their baseball memories,” said Hibler. “We are excited to receive this award from Sports Destination Management. We are even more thrilled to contribute to the vision the Mayor and City of Westfield have for Grand Park.”
In its review of the tournament, Sports Destination Management said ABC is quickly becoming known as “a premier baseball showcase nationwide and has had a tremendous economic impact on the community in only four years.”
The publication says 81 percent of the teams came from outside of Indiana which means a boost for hotels and restaurants.
According to the city, the tournament draws nearly 30,000 attendees, spending nearly 8,900 nights in area hotels and having an economic impact of nearly $30 million.
“We built Grand Park to be an economic driver for our city and this recognition not only validates our strategy but celebrates the contributions and partnerships we have created with organizations like Bullpen Tournaments,” said Westfield Mayor Andy Cook.