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Volume 25 No. 30
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Virtual Reality Baseball Attraction Planned For Phoenix Area

A new high-tech, baseball attraction is being planned near Phoenix by Fleetwood Projects dubbed “Home: The Baseball Experience,” which is designed to showcase the role of tech and analytics in baseball and recreate various vantage points such as a bullpen, press box and dugout. It also plans to incorporate elements such as VR and holograms. There is not a specific site yet for the project, but the group is in discussions with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community about a potential site in the Talking Stick Entertainment District. That area in Scottsdale also serves as the Spring Training Home for the D-backs and Rockies. Marc Appleman, who is creating the attraction along with Fleetwood Projects Chair Rick Fizdale, said, “Our goal is to reinforce the emotional connection people have with baseball and to deepen their understanding of the game. It will not be a museum with artifacts and memorabilia under glass, but rather an experiential attraction where guests can be active participants.” Appleman currently serves as Society for American Baseball Research CEO, but will leave that post in July for Fleetwood Projects. Fizdale formerly was Leo Burnett Worldwide Chair & CEO.

BIG PROJECTIONS: Appleman and Fizdale have retained several entities for the project, including AECOM, which has conducted an initial feasibility study projecting a potential annual attendance of more than 300,000. That figure would surpass the numbers seen by the Baseball HOF and many other sports museums. HKS Architects is handling design work for the "Home" project, while BRC Imagination Arts is working on the interactive, tech-focused exhibits. The project currently carries a projected opening of early ’21. The "Home" initiative bears some similarity to the Baseball HOF's traveling, tech-driven tour, “We Are Baseball,” that operated in '16-17. But at more than 60,000 square feet, the Fleetwood Projects effort is designed to be a larger and permanently established attraction.