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PEORIA, IL (December 18, 2013) -Louisville Slugger®, the number one name in diamond sports and leader in baseball and softball for 130 years, announced a major partnership today with a new state-of-the-art sports center planned for Peoria, Ill. The facility, with 10 outdoor all-synthetic-turf youth baseball and softball fields plus a 125,000 square foot dome offering year-round play, will be called Louisville Slugger Sports Complex™.

“Our company has a long history of leaving its mark on baseball and softball,” said Louisville Slugger’s VP of Marketing, Kyle Schlegel. “Louisville Slugger is honored to join with the Peoria community in what will be one of the very best facilities of its kind in America. I assure you, this is not hyperbole. Peoria and the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex will become the new number-one destination for youth baseball and softball in the Midwest and, for many, the best in the nation.”

Louisville Slugger Sports Complex is expected to draw a majority of participants from the 23 million people within 300 miles of the central Illinois city. However, the magnificent facility, entertaining family experience and stellar reputation of the Louisville Slugger brand are expected to also attract interest and participants from across North America. While the facility is certain to host great competition, Schlegel says the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex will emphasize memorable family experiences through diamond sports.

“We were sold on becoming partners when we learned of the dedication, commitment and experience of the team of people in Peoria that’s been assembled to plan, develop and implement this amazing project, headed by the tireless Dan Cunningham,” Schlegel said. “Dan and the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex intend to provide the very best sports experience possible for young athletes and their families.”

Louisville Slugger Sports Complex is expected to host more than 11,000 competitive games per year while entertaining nearly a quarter million people annually. The experience for players and families will include a big-league atmosphere with major-league walk-out-style dugouts, bullpens, lights, electronic scoreboards and public address systems. Opening ceremonies will be second to none, with a brilliant laser show and video welcome played on the ceiling of the dome.

Louisville Slugger’s branding and merchandise will be prominent throughout. The storied baseball company, supplier of equipment to players from Babe Ruth to Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente to Derek Jeter and Buster Posey, will create a Youth Hall of Fame section on their website where every participant will be featured. Players can share the page with family and friends for years to come. Also, every player in Louisville Slugger Hall of Fame events will receive a personalized Louisville Slugger bat as a keepsake, just like ones used in Major League Baseball® by players like Peoria’s own Jim Thome, Joe Girardi and Ben Zobrist.

The partnership agreement with developers provides Louisville Slugger with naming rights, use of the facility for special marketing events – such as showcases and product demonstrations – and product merchandising, among other things. The parties also plan to cooperate on development of a Louisville Slugger smartphone application to promote events and provide information to players and their families. In the future, you can expect to hear about more partners who promise to fulfill Louisville Slugger’s purpose as a brand, “to make players great,” through their involvement in Peoria.

“To say we are excited would be an enormous understatement,” Schlegel said. “We are truly ecstatic over this partnership and what it can do to promote youth baseball and softball, the games we love. This is the first such partnership for Louisville Slugger, speaking volumes about our confidence in the development and future of the complex under Dan’s leadership. This is an amazing opportunity for Louisville Slugger to connect with young players and their families as we start our next 130 years.”

About Louisville Slugger
Louisville Slugger® is synonymous with baseball and softball. It is the leading brand in diamond sports. The company makes the #1 Bat in Major League Baseball, bats that are swung by the best of the best – Derek Jeter, Josh Hamilton, Joey Votto, Curtis Granderson and David Wright, among hundreds of other current MLB stars. They've all joined in Louisville Slugger's storied history to become part of a "Slugger Guy" fraternity that includes the greatest hitters to ever step up to the plate – Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, George Brett, Tony Gwynn and Ken Griffey Jr., to name just a few. Louisville Slugger also makes industry-leading equipment for youth, high school and college players. It sponsors top-level NCAA Division 1 baseball programs, including the 2012 National Champion Arizona Wildcats.

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