Designed to expose young male and female athletes to the highest level of competition and allow them to train in a pro-like environment, the complex, which is separate from the theme park, is a sports-lover's smorgasbord spread over 220 acres that hosts events year-round. "It's an overnight success that has taken 10 years to build," says Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises.
It is also, at times, a marvel to watch thousands of youngsters in uniforms, with families and friends close behind, scurrying from one field or arena to the next, swinging bats or shooting hoops on the same fields or in the same arenas where many top pros practice and play. Earlier this summer, more than 15,000 boys and girls (ages 9 to 18) — playing for more than 900 teams from the USA and countries around the world — moved through the Disney facility to compete in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) national championships in basketball and baseball.
The rebrand is essentially a shift in focus, to create tighter links between the Complex/park and Disney's popular sports network ESPN. Associated projects include a Disney Princess Half Marathon planned for early next year. Check out the pictures in the press release...very princess-y, to say the least. As one of my students pointed out today - why can't the princesses run a full marathon?