“P&G is proud to continue our partnership with the Reds and the Reds Community Fund to help improve the Cincinnati community through the development of the first Urban Youth Academy in the Midwest,” said Jodi Allen, P&G VP North America Marketing and Brand Operations.
The complex will include four renovated fields and a 33,000 square foot building featuring batting cages, pitching tunnels and a full indoor field. Groundbreaking will be in 2013 with project completion expected in 2015.
“We are committed to creating opportunities to get more kids to play baseball,” said Phil Castellini, Reds Chief Operating Officer. “With the support of P&G and our other partners the Academy will be the hub for urban baseball and softball training in Greater Cincinnati and hope to serve more than 20,000 kids and coaches annually.”
The relationship includes support from Kroger featuring a strong in-store retail plan in 2013 that will promote several P&G brands while raising awareness for the Reds Urban Youth Academy project.
The Reds Urban Youth Academy is modeled after Major League Baseball academies in Compton, Ca., Houston, Philadelphia and New Orleans.
Since 2010, P&G and the Reds Community Fund have partnered for the annual “P&G Community Day” volunteer service projects featuring hundreds of P&G employees renovating baseball and softball fields and community parks. The most recent project on August 2 included over 400 P&G North America Marketing employees restoring the Cheviot Memorial Fields, historic grandstand and Cheviot Memorial Fieldhouse.
The Reds Community Fund currently operates the Reds Urban Youth Academy at the temporary home of Cincinnati Public School’s Gamble Montessori High School in Winton Place. The fall/winter session starts October 22 and offers free baseball and softball instruction four days a week to boys and girls from Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky public schools.
There is currently a need for an expanded, year-round Reds Urban Youth Academy in Cincinnati because local Knothole participation has dipped significantly in the past five years while select baseball programs continue to expand. This suggests baseball is failing in urban areas that typically rely on neighborhood and recreational baseball for instruction. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, the number of kids aged 7 to 17 playing baseball decreased 33% from 8.7 million participants to 5.8 million participants from 2000 to 2011.
Additional partners in the Reds Urban Youth Academy capital fundraising campaign are Major League Baseball, The City of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, PNC Bank and Reds owners and players.