Ripken Baseball will bring youth tournaments to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex starting in 2020, with plans to use the former Atlanta Braves spring-training ballpark.
Ripken Baseball, known for delivering big-league baseball experiences to youth ballplayers, will launch with top-level youth baseball tournaments next year for ages 6-18 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort will encompass 11 ballfields – six youth-sized baseball fields equipped with lights for night games and five professional-sized fields, including The Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (shown above hosting the Braves as Champion Stadium), which hosted big-league spring training games for more than two decades.
“One of the core pillars of Ripken Baseball is to remember to have fun, so what better place to compete and maximize the family sports travel experience than right here at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort,” said Cal Ripken Jr. “We are thrilled to be working with such an iconic and internationally-respected brand as Walt Disney World to provide teams and their families with the most memorable experiences.”
Leveraging the world-class guest service and entertainment that visitors have come to expect from Walt Disney World Resort, Ripken Baseball will offer participants many opportunities to have magical experiences away from the ballfield. For instance, youth baseball participants will be treated to a dazzling opening ceremony and have free time in the Disney parks to experience new and popular attractions, such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opens Aug. 29.
“At Disney Sports, we create the best possible experience for all of the athletes who walk through our gates,” said Faron Kelley, vice president of Disney Sports. “Working with baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr., and his outstanding youth baseball academy, we will be taking the baseball experience at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to a new level of excellence.”
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex joins Ripken Baseball’s lineup of youth sports destinations, including the Ripken family’s hometown of Aberdeen, Maryland; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Across its facilities and national clinic tours, Ripken Baseball last year hosted more than 70,000 ball players from 42 states and eight countries.
Ripken earned the nickname “The Iron Man” because he set the Major League Baseball record for most consecutive games played (2,632). Ripken spent 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles where he was a 19-time All-Star shortstop. He was a two-time American League Most Valuable Player (1983, 1991) and elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.
The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort is one of several major youth sports experiences held annually at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Others include the Disney Soccer Showcase, Disney Spring Training and the Pop Warner Super Bowl Dance and Cheer Championship.