A Great Day to Play!
The grand opening ceremony will include an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebratory remarks, followed by sports clinics, games and other activities at the tennis and sand volleyball courts and soccer fields that are part of the first phase. Well-known athletes and local celebrities are expected to attend, and there will be music and fun for all ages. The Championship Soccer Stadium will make its debut that evening, followed by a community concert with seating for some 2,500 fans in the stadium’s permanent seats and 2,500 more on the grass.
The Orange County Great Park Sports Park’s first phase will feature 25 hard-surface tennis courts, seven natural-turf soccer fields and five sand volleyball courts. Both the tennis and volleyball centers include championship courts with fixed seating for more than 100 spectators each. There’s also a play area for toddlers and younger kids, giving them something to do while siblings compete on the playing fields surrounding it. The playground and play area are designed with the signature style well known to those familiar with the parks and playgrounds in the Great Park Neighborhoods.
The centerpiece of phase one is the Championship Soccer Stadium, which is a stunning new facility that will certainly be used for sports, but will no doubt be a sought-after venue for city events, graduations, and other gatherings, ceremonies and events for decades to come.
The walkways and sports fields in the Sports Park are accented by landscaping that features both new plantings and young trees, along with full-size heritage trees. They are some of the 800 mature trees rescued from the former U.S. Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, saved and maintained in a nursery by FivePoint for use in the Great Park and FivePoint’s Great Park Neighborhoods.
Facilities under construction in upcoming and final phases of the Sports Park include a dedicated softball complex with five fields, a championship stadium and four batting cages; a baseball complex with seven baseball fields, also with a championship stadium and four batting cages; plus four basketball courts, six more soccer fields and “flex fields” that can be used for rugby, cricket and lacrosse.
The existing sports fields at the Great Park are popular with local, regional and national youth athletics organizations. The tournaments and games currently scheduled will continue there and in the new Sports Park. In the future, the Sports Park can be expected to be an important venue for national and international championship competitions, drawing top athletes from around the world.
And for local families and youth athletes in Irvine and Orange County, the Sports Park will be an important part of life growing up in Irvine, where the city’s youth will engage in daily play, compete and learn the lessons of team and individual sports for generations to come.
The Sports Park has been planned, paid for and built by FivePoint for the city of Irvine as part of the company’s commitment to develop 688 acres of the Great Park, including the Sports Park, spending up to $250 million, an estimated $75 million more than required, in the process. Part of the construction cost included $30 million to remove runways and complete infrastructure in the park. When complete, the entire new Sports Park will include 175 acres (some 2.5 times the size of Disneyland), nearly 200 acres when the existing fields are included. It will be one of the largest multisport facilities in the United States. And it all will be owned and operated by the city of Irvine.
The economic benefit of the Sports Park is expected to be significant. The Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce has added staff to market the city nationally as a destination for major youth sports competitions, and revenue is anticipated to increase due to added hotel stays and spending at restaurants and retail locations.