The city of Prince Albert is once again ready to welcome the world.
In a press conference at the Art Hauser Centre Tuesday morning, it was announced that Prince Albert was selected to host the 2024 WBSC Men’s Softball World Cup Group Stage and the 2025 World Cup Finals.
The city of Prince Albert is ready to contribute some funding from the Destination Marketing Fund. Mayor Greg Dionne says the money will go towards improvements in the facilities in time for 2024.
“We did realize once we finished the last ones when we did have some tournaments here, one of the score clocks have to be replaced and one of the fields is too small. So, it’s just minor upgrades like that. When we first committed to the group, we have them about $300,000 for capitol. Since we’ve had some tournaments, there’s been some highlights. There will be other things like more seating, and more abilities like that.”
Derek Smith, Co-chair of the 2025 World Cup Bid Committee, says a strong relationship with the city of Prince Albert helped made the bid successful.
“We’ve had a long standing great standing relationship with the city of Prince Albert. Building these ballparks from day one with we put them together with project triple play in 2017. With continued improvements, we got to improve our scorebox on diamond number two. We’ve worked well with the city and the destination marketing fund.”
The city of Prince Albert is no stranger to welcoming the international community as the 2018 WBSC Junior Men’s Softball World Championship was hosted at Prime Minister’s Park.
Smith says the bid committee reinvested some money earned from the 2018 World Championship for use in the 2024/2025 bid.
“It’s huge for our city and our committee and the softball community in the area. To be able to put on a world class event in both 2024 and 2025, we’re going to get the fans out and it’s going to be exciting around the ballpark. We started the process about 8 years ago, just with the bid to get 2018 here. We reinvested some of that money into this bid, we were able to secure this bid. First time a community has ever held a stage qualifier and a world cup event.”
The event is expected to stimulate the local economy with many competitors and fans needing hotel rooms for the tournament.
Dionne says that in during the 2018 World Championships, his phone was ringing constantly.
“For three weeks, my office phone rang that you couldn’t get a hotel. That’s what makes me happy. When people phone my office and say ‘how can we get a hotel room in the city of Prince Albert?’. That’s economic spinoff, it fills the hotels, the restaurants, the gas stations. It helps even the merchants that sell the goods we have offer. It’s an all around big economic driver for us, because everyone that comes spends money.”