The completion of the 194-acre Sports Park is a major step in the public-private effort to develop the entire 688-acre Great Park into a metropolitan park rivaling the best in the nation.
There was more action than a double header as a full day of fun unfolded with ceremonies, exhibition baseball and softball games, food trucks and information booths.
The celebration included an Opening Ceremony at the new Championship Baseball Stadium, that included remarks from city of Irvine Mayor Don Wagner, FivePoint Chairman and CEO Emile Haddad, Community Services Commissioner Dick Owens, Premier Girls Fastpitch CEO and softball ambassador Dan Hay and Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer.
Two special guests, both O.C. natives, also were part of the dedication ceremony. Representing the softball community was Amanda Freed, an Olympic gold medal winner, NCAA national champion, and 2018 inductee into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.
Shawn Green, former Tustin high school standout and two-time MLB All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers, represented the baseball community.
More than 500 athletes from two dozen schools paused in between exhibition games to be introduced on the field at the start of the Opening Ceremony.
The event concluded with a ceremonial first pitch between local youth softball and baseball catchers and Wagner, Haddad, Irvine council members Christina Shea and Melissa Fox, Owens, Hay, Spitzer, Freed and Green.
Funded by FivePoint’s joint venture, the Sports Park is twice the size of Disneyland. FivePoint committed to build the facilities in five years. It was completed ahead of schedule in just four years.
The sports complex fills a need for additional sports and recreation facilities in the region, and adds a new chapter to the legacy of the land that was the home of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.
The latest phase of stadiums and fields that were just completed include seven baseball fields, including a 1,000-seat Championship Baseball Stadium; five softball fields, including a Championship Softball Stadium with seating for 500; six synthetic-turf soccer fields; four basketball courts; flex fields for lacrosse, rugby, cricket, and other uses.
The first phase of the Sports Park, which opened last year, included a 5,000-seat Championship Soccer Stadium; six natural-turf soccer fields; 25 tennis courts, including a Championship Tennis Court with seating for 100; five sand volleyball courts, including a Championship Volleyball Court with seating for 100; and one-acre children’s playground.