Forge, TN – May 2017 / Newsmaker Alert / Marking its first anniversary
in the Smoky Mountains, The
Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge is batting a thousand with baseball
fans and city officials alike.
Since opening its doors in
March 2016, more than 800 youth baseball teams and 70 high school softball
teams have taken the fields at The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge for competition
in 30 tournaments. In total, more than 12,000 players and coaches have
traveled to play ball on fields that offer unobstructed views of the Great
Smoky Mountains, with an additional 600 teams expected to travel to the
complex for competition this summer.
“Not only did thousands of
players, coaches and their families enjoy The Ripken Experience, but they
also took advantage of our family-friendly vacation destination, which
resulted in visitor spending of $30 million in Pigeon Forge,” said Eric
Brackins, Pigeon Forge assistant city manager.
The appeal of Pigeon
Forge as a family vacation destination was a major reason the city
built the $22.5 million complex and contracted with Ripken Baseball to
In its first year, participants
traveled to Pigeon Forge from 25 states and Canada, hailing from as far
away as Alaska, California, Massachusetts, and Texas. Other states represented
are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North
Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West
Virginia and Wisconsin.
“America’s favorite pastime,
baseball, and Pigeon Forge are a perfect combination,” said Leon Downey,
executive director of the Pigeon
Forge Department of Tourism. “The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge has
given many folks a reason to visit Pigeon Forge for the first time, and
once they see all that we have to offer, they want to return year after
The Ripken Experience Pigeon
Forge youth complex is located on a ridge above Pigeon Forge. Each field
borrows its design inspiration from current and former ballparks highlighting
the professional player progression from the Minor to Major Leagues, including
Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
The others are Calfee Park
in Pulaski, Va., the oldest park in the Appalachian League; Fluor Field
in Greenville, S.C., known as “Little Fenway”; Engel Stadium in Chattanooga,
Tenn., a filming location for the “42” movie about Jackie Robinson; Winston-Salem
Ballpark in N.C.; and Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, N.M.
The Ripken Experience Pigeon
Forge hosts tournaments nine months out of the year and offers year-round
branded events in its 14,000-square-foot clubhouse. Tournaments are free
to spectators, and parking is free at the complex.
Visitor information about
Pigeon Forge is available online at MyPigeonForge.com
and toll-free at 800-251-9100. To learn more Ripken Baseball and for The
Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge tournament schedule, visit RipkenBaseball.com.
Images available for download
for Pigeon Forge Department
for The Ripken Experience