Chesterfield turf field

One of the turf fields at Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex (Photo provided)

 

By NINA GOMEZ

This month, the city of Chesterfield announced a long-term lease with Perfect Game, which is considered to be the biggest youth baseball/softball platform and scouting service in the world. According to the press document that announced the partnership, 13,324 Perfect Game alumni have been selected in the MLB First-Year Amateur Player Draft since 2003. 

The new partnership would bring high-level baseball and softball competition and activities to the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex (CVAC) and add to the area’s overall sports tourism. 

“This will be a big boon to our local business community,” Kevin Schuh, Chesterfield’s superintendent of sports and wellness said. “It’s likely to a be a tax generator as far as sales tax.”

The CVAC fields are used by both the city and the Chesterfield Baseball & Softball Association (CBSA) for training, practices, games and tournaments. The CBSA is a board-directed, nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop, supervise and voluntarily assist baseball and softball players at all skill levels.

While both entities hold games and tournaments at the CVAC, Schuh said the model for youth sports has changed a lot over the years, leaning toward tournament play and a more dominant sports tourism model. 

“We have seen our usage change. The leagues have remained strong but weekend use was kind of dwindling because people would play during the week and then go out of town for tournaments.” 

The hope is that the partnership with Perfect Game will bring many people to Chesterfield from out of town, mostly families via events and tournaments, sparking income into local businesses. 

“With this type of thing (Perfect Game events) they bring in people from out of town that fill up hotels and bring people into the St. Louis County region,” Schuh said.

Examples of Perfect Game events include tournaments from recreational to high-end, clinics and scouting events. 

The partnership will take effect in 2023, to coincide with the addition of 12 new synthetic turf infields, giving the CVAC 16 turf infields out of 21 total fields and the ability to play through poor weather conditions, according to the city of Chesterfield. 

Schuh said the goal for field completion is March 1, 2023, in order to have the fields operating next spring. The upfront cost for the field renovation is $2.7 million. However, field quality is an important factor in the Perfect Game partnership. 

“We are just thrilled with this partnership,” Schuh said. “Perfect Game is a perfect partner … it is what we wanted to offer as far as a high-level use program.”