Published in Economic Development

Rockford-area fields rebrand as Meijer Sports Complex under new corporate sponsorship

BY Tuesday, May 04, 2021 03:58pm

PLAINFIELD TWP. — The West Michigan Sports Complex has been rebranded as the Meijer Sports Complex under a new corporate sponsorship between the company and the West Michigan Sports Commission.

The Sports Commission, which operates the baseball and softball complex in Plainfield Township, on Tuesday announced the new 10-year partnership with Walker-based grocery giant Meijer Inc.

The destination for local, statewide and regional tournaments — which features eight baseball and softball fields — was also formerly named the Art Van Sports Complex before the furniture retailer filed for bankruptcy and closed.

“Meijer has been a loyal partner of the WMSC for more than a decade, and this naming rights partnership extends and deepens that relationship as our organizations continue to support youth and amateur sports and the community as a whole through visitor spending,” Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission, said in a statement. 

“This new partnership also ensures that we can look to the future of the sports complex and expand upon the successful work we have started with additional uses of the remaining acreage. I can’t think of a more fitting partner when it comes to giving to Michigan — and especially West Michigan — than Meijer. We look forward to a long and productive partnership.”

The $7.5 million complex was completed in 2014 and featured its first full season in 2015. The facility is also home to the Helen DeVos Foundation Championship Field — complete with 1,000-person capacity grandstands — and the Nate Hurwitz Miracle League Field, which is tailored for participants with disabilities. This field, with rubberized turf to accommodate wheelchairs, is one of nine of its kind located in Michigan.

The Meijer Sports Complex routinely hosts travel baseball and softball tournaments, drawing athletes, families and spectators from around the state, region and country.

Since opening, the complex has hosted 96 events with 170,105 visitors, resulting in around 30,000 hotel room stays. The West Michigan Sports Commission estimated the economic impact of those events to be around $28 million.

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down organized sports of all levels throughout most of 2020. However, the Sports Commission was still able to salvage the year by hosting 15 tournaments at the complex throughout the summer when statewide COVID-19 cases dipped and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer eased restrictions.

“Meijer has always supported youth and amateur sports and the related health and economic benefits that come from these activities,” Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said in a statement. “This partnership with the West Michigan Sports Commission represents our commitment to enriching lives in the communities we serve. The complex is already a staple in the lives of many West Michigan families, and we look forward to seeing it continue to bring joy and spirited competition to the community for years to come.”

The two entities have worked alongside each other for more than a decade. Together, the organizations developed and launched the annual Meijer State Games in 2010, an Olympic-style athletic competition opened to participants of all ages and skill levels that continues today.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to say the sports complex is located in Plainfield Township.

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