LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL (March 4, 2004) -- Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex will break ground this month on its first venue expansion in the eight-year history of the 200-acre complex at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Sports Attractions announced today. The Hess Sports Fields, sponsored by Amerada Hess Corporation, a leading company in the petroleum industry, will feature 20 acres of new fields and diamonds beginning in August.
The new Hess Sports Fields will include four multi-sport fields for soccer, football, lacrosse and other sports, as well as four new diamonds for baseball and softball. The expansion significantly increases the amount of available field space at Disney's Wide World of Sports, one of the world's premier sports destinations, which already hosts more than 170 events each year for youth, amateurs and professionals, including Amateur Athletic Union National Championships, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp and Atlanta Braves Spring Training.
"The Hess Sports Fields at Disney's Wide World of Sports will give more athletes from across the country and around the world the opportunity to experience the world-class sports facilities and theme park attractions at Walt Disney World Resort," said Al Weiss, president of Walt Disney World Resort. "We are thrilled to embark on this exciting new era with Hess, a leading company with a tremendous reputation for quality, service and innovation that is sure to provide unique value to all guests who visit Walt Disney World."
"We are very proud to be a sponsor of Walt Disney World Resort and Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex," said Borden Walker, President of Refining and Marketing of Amerada Hess Corporation. "Both Disney and Hess have a long history of investing in community programs directed to young people. These facilities will provide tremendous opportunities for young athletes to compete in a wide range of sports. We are very excited about our partnership with Disney and look forward to its future growth."
The Hess Sports Fields give Disney's Wide World of Sports another state-of-the art athletic facility that already includes Cracker Jack Stadium, the Milk House (indoor fieldhouse), a 400-meter track & field complex, five multi-sport fields (which will be renamed Hess Sports Fields South), a six-field softball Diamondplex, an 11-court tennis complex and The Sports Experience interactive area. The complex also features the All Star Cafe sports-themed restaurant and a Town Green exhibition and awards area. In all, the state-of-the-art facility can accommodate more than 30 sports.
"The vision of Disney's Wide World of Sports has always been to provide athletes, particularly young kids, with the opportunities to chase their athletic dreams," added Reggie Williams, vice president of Disney Sports Attractions. "The Hess Sports Fields will build upon that promise by giving everyone from youth participants to Super Bowl champions the chance to perform at the best of their abilities at our state-of-the-art athletic facilities."
In addition, the Hess Sports Fields will create opportunities for Disney's Wide World of Sports to host larger events throughout the year with more athletes and teams participating. The new venue, which will accommodate more than 10 sports, will also pave the way for new sports events and training opportunities. Some of the youth sports organizations that will benefit most include longtime event partners: the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), Pop Warner Little Scholars, US Youth Soccer and the U.S. Specialty Sports Association (USSSA).
Through its sponsorship of the Hess Sports Fields, Amerada Hess becomes the latest venue sponsor at Disney's Wide World of Sports, joining Frito-Lay (Cracker Jack Stadium), the "got milk?"/Milk Mustache campaign (Milk House) and the Toro Company (Town Green). The Amerada Hess multi-year alliance also includes operation of the three service stations on Walt Disney World Resort property as Hess Express convenience store locations. The stations are currently being remodeled and will reopen by the end of March.
Amerada Hess is a global energy company engaged in the worldwide exploration for and the production of crude oil and natural gas. The company is also engaged in refining and the marketing of petroleum products, natural gas and electricity in the eastern United States, and operates over 1,200 convenience store and gasoline retail outlets from Massachusetts to Florida.