LakePoint introduces Prep Baseball Report, huge new partner starting in 2019. Plus: Why Perfect Game is exiting the Emerson ballparks after next season.

LakePoint introduces Prep Baseball Report, huge new partner starting in 2019. Plus: Why Perfect Game is exiting the Emerson ballparks after next season.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON’S UPDATE

Media release: Rimrock Capital Management announced today that it is making a sizeable investment in Prep Baseball Report, which operates hundreds of amateur baseball events in 41 states and Canada and runs the country’s largest and most respected independent baseball scouting service. Additionally with Rimrock’s backing, LakePoint and PBR are entering into a long-term partnership to operate the baseball complex at LakePoint.

As a result of the expertise and significant capital brought together by the two parties, PBR will further enhance today, and for years into the future, its leading national position in amateur baseball while LakePoint cements its spot as the pre-eminent destination for youth sports.

“We are extremely excited about combining the national reach and reputation of Prep Baseball Report with the phenomenal baseball assets at LakePoint,” said Jeff Bemis of Rimrock. “We’ve always believed in the enormous potential of LakePoint and by joining forces with PBR, we’re establishing an industry-changing platform by integrating sports operations with real estate, capital and strategic partnerships. We’ll have a deeper understanding of the needs of athletes, coaches and scouts and will have a fully integrated operation to create the best overall guest experience.”

PBR is rapidly growing its brand and the Rimrock/LakePoint partnership gives PBR a flagship presence at the premium baseball facility in the country. PBR will kick off its inaugural season at LakePoint in Spring 2019.

“Since our inception, we’ve always maintained a singular focus of providing players, teams, parents, college coaches and pro scouts a high-level, first-class baseball experience, which in turn creates greater opportunities for athletes to advance to the next level,” said Prep Baseball Report President Sean Duncan. “LakePoint’s amenity-rich baseball complex mirrors our standards for the baseball experiences. LakePoint is already the premier baseball facility in the country but their vision for what the entire campus will become personally aligns with my vision of taking the Prep Baseball Report brand to a new level.”

LakePoint hosts more than a million visitors a year to its nationally recognized sports complex. In 2018, LakePoint generated nearly $100 million in economic activity for the region.

LakePoint’s convenient location just outside Atlanta gives players and families a variety of entertainment options. LakePoint’s proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport ensures that more than 80 percent of the country is less than a two-hour flight away.

This partnership and investment announcement is the first major statement following the recent confirmation of LakePoint’s plan of reorganization. With a strong, all equity balance sheet, and backed by Rimrock, LakePoint is now poised for accelerated growth in 2019.

“We saw a synergistic and timely opportunity for LakePoint to partner with PBR.  This partnership aligns perfectly with our vision and enables LakePoint to realize sustainable, long term financial success,” said Dan Berman with GlassRatner, an adviser to Rimrock.

For more: LakePoint Sports

Prep Baseball Report: For more information, visit Prep Baseball.


TUESDAY MORNING’S UPDATE

We asked the leaders of Perfect Game for an update on their decision to leave LakePoint Sporting Commission in Emerson after the 2019 season. Below is the response we were directed to by the company. An abridged version follows; the full release is available here. Our summary:

Media release: … Perfect Game in North America will kick off its 25th season in 2019 with an even stronger desire to grow the game of baseball by helping young people succeed. Perfect Game’s primary goal is to promote amateur baseball and create more opportunities for those that lack the resources it takes to participate in youth baseball.

“We are expanding to create more opportunities for young players and increase our coverage of the amateur game at every level. We want to increase participation and diversity and continue growing the greatest game. Nothing we do is as rewarding as seeing young players reach their goals. We will never get tired of that, so we will be doing even more to promote players and teams as we expand our reach moving forward.” – President and Founder Jerry Ford.

The 2019 season will see many changes. Perfect Game, in partnership with Prospect Meadows Inc. and Linn County in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is building 17 fields as part of a state-of-the-art baseball complex on over 128 acres. Perfect Game has hired Sports Facilities Advisory to assist on its expansion plans around the country to secure new baseball facilities beginning with Georgia where Perfect Game will be moving all of its tournaments from the LakePoint Sports Complex (which recently declared Chapter 11) in 2020.

CEO Brad Clement said, “It is just the beginning. Perfect Game has created buzz around the youth baseball arena that hasn’t been seen before, and we are excited to continue to make news in the coming months as we expand. This will be a banner year for Perfect Game, its partners, its leadership and most importantly its athletes, coaches and families. We will be expanding our national footprint on the West Coast, South, Southwest, Midwest and East Coast launching over 200 new events in 2019.”

This is coming off another record year for Perfect Game, which has doubled its event participation since 2015. The situation regarding LakePoint’s uncertainty was a catalyst for Perfect Game to begin its search for its own facilities.  In Georgia’s Cobb County (home of the Atlanta Braves), the annual economic impact that Perfect Game brings with it is pegged at $139 million by Cobb County officials making it a one-of-a-kind property. The surrounding counties at LakePoint benefited from Perfect Game tournaments with the construction of hotels, fast food restaurants and other family themed properties with PG clearly the foundation of the economic stimulus. Total economic impact in the Atlanta area is estimated at over $300 million…

The response by new sponsors and partners to join the fast-rising group has been impressive, with the Perfect Game management team targeting key geographic under-served areas that might not have the same opportunity as other regions in the US. At the same time, Perfect Game will maintain its presence in the regions in which it currently operates.

So where will Perfect Game go? Multiple locations are being considered in the metro Atlanta area.

MONDAY NIGHT’S UPDATE

Shocking news from the Atlanta Business Chronicle Monday evening on a potential blow to the reorganizing LakePoint Sporting Community. Or is there more to the separation? Please check back for updates:

From the Business Chronicle:

The entrance to the Perfect Game South Park at LakePoint. From Facebook

Perfect Game Inc., a showcase for many future college and pro baseball players and a regional draw for Bartow County’s LakePoint Sporting Community, is leaving the project.

“The Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based scouting service plans to secure new baseball facilities in Georgia, according to a news release. It’s part of a larger national expansion. Perfect Game will move its tournaments from LakePoint in 2020.

“The decision comes as investors behind the massive project work to regain its financial footing. In June, eight groups affiliated with the development filed a Chapter 11 reorganization plan in federal bankruptcy court in Atlanta. The restructuring was created with the project’s main investor, California-based hedge fund manager Rimrock Capital.

“ ‘ The situation regarding LakePoint’s uncertainty was a catalyst for Perfect Game to begin its search for its own facilities,” according to the news release from the company, which has grown into an influential baseball scouting service.

Perfect Game anchors the 1,300-acre project in Emerson.

“The surrounding counties at LakePoint benefited from Perfect Game tournaments with the construction of hotels, fast food restaurants and other family themed properties, with Perfect Game clearly the foundation of the economic stimulus,” according to statement from the company.

Click here for the expanded story.


Last week, Hometown Headlines talked with LakePoint officials and Bartow County leaders about the project’s plans to reorganize. There was no hint that something was brewing with Perfect Game. The story, by Natalie Simms, appear below:

By Natalie Simms
nsimmshh@att.net

It’s been nearly six months since LakePoint Sports South and its affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company had hoped its reorganization/recapitalization plan would be finalized within 120-150 days after their June 11 filing; however, the case continues to progress through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Rome.

“Everything has gone smoothly and according to plan.  We’re excited to say that we’re expecting plan confirmation in the next few weeks and being out of bankruptcy shortly following that confirmation,” says Dan Berman, senior managing director of Atlanta-based GlassRatner. The company is an advisory firm experienced in destination resorts, finance, real estate and construction, which is working with Rimrock Capital Management,majority owner of LakePoint.

LakePoint filed for bankruptcy to allow the company to “emerge with a clean balance sheet and strong financial outlook,” according to Berman.

In November 2016, LakePoint Land deeded acreage to Rimrock as part of a loan workout. In the recapitalization plan, Rimrock will contribute the land it now owns back to LakePoint Land. Rimrock’s debt will be converted to equity, making Rimrock the largest shareholder in the project. This will allow LakePoint to emerge from bankruptcy debt free and with the certainty of being clear of any claims.

“As part of the plan, existing shareholders will share in LakePoint’s future success,” he says. “While LakePoint’s development of athletic facilities started fast, growth of supporting businesses – from hotels to restaurants to entertainment venues – didn’t go fast enough to create a thriving ecosystem. We hope to change that.”

LakePoint is wrapping up its most successful year-to-date since opening in 2014. Their attendance so far this year has reached 1.25 million visits.

“We had a fantastic 2018. We grew our attendance by 10% to 1.25 million visits and are anticipating more growth in the years ahead,” says Berman.

“During the year, we hosted 12 different types of sport events at the Champions Center indoor facility, including our usual assortment of basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and cheer tournaments.  We also had several firsts at our indoor facility, including an indoor track and field meet in February and a car show in September.  We are in our third year of the Harlem Globetrotters calling us home and their game in October was attended by 1,500 people.  We continued to host youth camps during the summer and league play in the indoor facility during the week at night.”

In addition, the eight baseball fields stay packed throughout the spring, summer and fall. Plus, there are multipurpose fields hosting a variety of sports including soccer and lacrosse.

“LakePoint continues to be an important economic driver for Bartow County and the region and we look forward to keeping our momentum going into 2019,” says Berman.

As for what’s next, Rimrock and LakePoint plan to continue the legacy of master developing the 1,300-acre campus. Earlier this year, Rimrock hired real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle to help with planning and analysis in development of a new master plan.

“We’re working with a team of people, including JLL, on what the best programming could be for the both the south and north campuses. We want to bring amenities here that support our state-of-the-art sports facilities.  And we want these amenities to deliver convenience and a good experience to our athletes and families and for the community,” says Berman. “We are not ready to make any formal announcements but are excited about what we are working on.”

One project that will help development is the construction of the new LakePoint Parkway connecting Allatoona Road to Red Top Mountain Road, and opening up the north campus. Work began earlier this spring.

“The road should be complete by mid to late April 2019 and then I expect LakePoint to really start gaining momentum. There is lots of interest in new developments, especially on the south campus, there are a couple of hotels waiting to get out of the ground … we hope to see things moving by spring when the road is complete,” says Steve Taylor, Bartow’s sole county commissioner.

Berman agrees: “We want to bring more amenities here – and with LakePoint Parkway on track to finish in April or May that will open up our North Campus.  As far as further development, that could take a variety of forms and we’re working through the details now. We don’t want to announce anything before it’s final but suffice it to say, interest is strong in LakePoint and we’re thrilled about the continued investment we’re going to see here – more details to come.”

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