In case you missed the announcement last year, Plano won the bid to host the USA Softball 2018 18U and 16U Gold Nationals July 15-21 at Heritage Yards.
In case you missed the announcement last year, Plano won the bid to host the USA Softball 2018 18U and 16U Gold Nationals July 15-21 at Heritage Yards. This is a big deal, as these are the most prominent tournaments in Junior Olympic Championship Play. This is also the first time these tournaments have been held in Texas since 1995. What's more, this weeklong event is projected to add $4.1 million to the economy in local spending from the estimated 20,000 people expected to attend and/or participate in the tournament, according to Visit Plano.
With its nine ballfields, grandstand seating, covered pavilions, fenced warm-up areas for teams, multiple concessions locations, and a central operations building, Heritage Yards has everything needed to host such a large-scale event. It’s no secret Plano continues to be an attraction for local, regional, statewide and national sports tournaments. Perhaps what isn’t so widely publicized, however, is how this is all possible.
Plano’s athletic fields serve more than a dozen organizations, from Plano Sports Authority to the Dallas Cricket League. In fact, more than 2 million people took part in and/or attended sports games, tournaments and other athletic-related events in Plano last year! These events do wonders for our local economy by attracting participants and their families to Plano businesses, hotels and restaurants.
According to a study conducted by the Trust for Public Land last year, Sports and tournament related tourism alone generated $39.2 million for Plano in 2016. Needless to say, caring for and managing Plano’s sports fields are a top priority for Plano Parks and Recreation. The responsibility requires an immense amount of teamwork and organization among our Athletics Division. In addition to the employees responsible for the upkeep of these fields, our administrative staff is charged with scheduling nearly 8,000 games a year for nearly 70,000 players.
Each week, resident teams (which consist of at least 80 percent Plano residents) are given priority over others when it comes to field reservations. Fields that are not reserved are then opened up to the public for online booking. This small staff work closely with leagues and teams to ensure ideal game times and locations, as well as consistency.
“Versatility, good management and coordination are key,” athletic superintendent Ed Voss said. “We have to stay flexible to meet the area’s needs and demands.”
Another secret to Plano’s athletic success is the fact that much of our games take place on multi-use fields, meaning they can be used in different ways depending on the community’s needs. Because of this, Plano's continued investment in these spaces allows the city to accommodate a variety of games and tournaments throughout the year.
“We can talk about big tournaments all day long, but our true customers are the young athletes and their parents, who deserve the best experience in our city, and our employees know that,” Voss said. “They take great pride in what they do and it shows.”
To request an athletic field rental membership or to request a reservation, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. A variety of backstops and open fields in neighborhood parks and elementary schools are also available on a first come, first served basis. For more information, please visit our Athletic Operations page.