By Rick Horrow
Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins
- Ripken Baseball and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex announce a partnership that will bring elite youth baseball tournaments to Walt Disney World Resort beginning in 2020. The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort, according to SportsBusiness Daily, will include a “dazzling” opening ceremony for participants, whose ages will range from 6-18. Games will be played on 11 ballfields, six youth-sized fields equipped with lights for night games and five professional-sized fields, including The Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosted MLB Spring Training games for more than two decades. Players will have free time in the Disney parks to experience new attractions. Said Cal Ripken Jr., “Here at Disney, we might even have greater resources to bring the big-league experience to the kids…We quickly realized that most of the kids are not going to play big-league baseball, so we want to bring a big-league experience down to them.” Ripken, founder and chairman of Ripken Baseball, as well as a Sport Business Handbook contributor, added that the partnership is a multiyear deal.
- ISC has announced that COO Joie Chitwood III has resigned from his post, effective November 25, the first major departure amid ISC’s acquisition by NASCAR. Chitwood, noted SportsBusiness Daily, has been with ISC for a decade, having served as President of Daytona International Speedway during its $400 million renovation before stepping into the COO role, where he has overseen the operations of ISC’s 13 tracks. Chitwood is one of ISC executives identified in public filings as having substantial stock in the company, which should provide a windfall after NASCAR’s $2 billion acquisition of ISC closes, which is expected by year’s end. Sources have been anticipating departures from ISC’s leadership in the coming months; SportsBusiness Journal last month reported that ISC President John Saunders has also been mentioned as someone who could leave the company after the acquisition closes. After the acquisition is complete, NASCAR’s leadership is expected to have greater oversight of track operations under the newly combined company.
- MLB FoodFest returns for a second helping. MLB FoodFest presented by Budweiser returned to New York September 21-22 on Fifth Avenue near Bryant Park. The event’s second installment on the East Coast – it also took place in Los Angeles earlier this year – provides all 30 teams an opportunity to designate one food item to represent their team and community. Each ticket grants access to the space for a designated two-hour block and can only be secured online prior to arrival at the venue. Among the most popular food items are the Mariners’ toasted grasshoppers, the Pirates’ pulled pork pierogi hoagie, the Red Sox’ hot lobster rolls, and for dessert, the D-backs’ Churro Dogs. Most of last week’s menu featured concoctions new to the New York event, including the local team and ballpark representatives with the Mets Bases Loaded Dog and the Yankees Shrimp Po’Boy. This time around, attendees also had access to new interactive elements, such as a Home Run Derby Virtual Reality experience and an MLB FoodFest merchandise shop.