McNeese State University and Visit Lake Charles, the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, have signed an agreement that will bring large national competitive youth baseball tournaments to the Lake Area for the next four years.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the McNeese campus, our baseball facilities and Southwest Louisiana to thousands of high school athletes and their families,” McNeese President Dr. Daryl Burckel said.
The cooperative agreement calls for McNeese to allow Visit Lake Charles to use the baseball stadium and facilities for four weeks each July through 2027 to accommodate and attract large national competitive youth baseball tournaments like the New Balance Future Stars Series (NBFSS).
In return, Visit Lake Charles will contribute $600,000 over the next four years to the McNeese Foundation designated for improvements to the baseball stadium.
Visit Lake Charles recently announced that the New Balance Future Stars Series National Championships (NBFSS), one of the most prestigious high school showcase baseball tournaments in the United States, will call Southwest Louisiana home for the next four years.
“The NBFSS tournament will encompass a four-week period each summer and it will bring an annual estimated economic impact of over $7.5 million to our area,” Kyle Edmiston, president and CEO of Visit Lake Charles, said.
In addition to the players and their families, college coaches and professional scouts from around the country will come to Southwest Louisiana for these tournaments.
The NBFSS tournament has been hosted in Houston for the past three years and Visit Lake Charles competed against Las Vegas and Nashville for the right to host the tournament through 2024. The NBFSS is also utilizing fields at McMurry Park in Sulphur, Barbe and Sam Houston high schools and Legion Field.
McNeese baseball head coach Justin Hill announced a long-term plan for enhancement to Joe Miller Ballpark and the baseball complex last fall.
This include a new all-turf playing surface, training center and clubhouse for coaches’ offices, locker rooms, team meeting room and academic study area.
“This partnership with Visit Lake Charles will bring national attention and interest to McNeese and Lake Charles,” Hill said. “We are excited to host these elite high school baseball players and our improvement plans for the baseball complex will create a great environment for our team success.”
Eric Zartler, sales director for Visit Lake Charles, will assist with the on-site tournament logistics for the NBFSS. “This baseball event will bring people from all over the country to Southwest Louisiana and they will be staying in hotel rooms and providing a significant boost to our economy,” Zartler said. “We could not bring this event to Lake Charles without the partnership and cooperation we have with McNeese and other local agencies and businesses.”