The Quad-Cities will up its game in sports tourism with the opening this summer of the TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf.
Widely known as BettPlex, the $45 million campus is under construction at Middle and Forest Grove roads and will contain a 281,274-square-foot indoor sports building, outdoor fields and attached family entertainment center.
"TBK Bank Sports Complex is going to be a game-changer for our community — for tourism and sports tourism dollars," said Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher. "Every other portion of tourism has taken a dip in the last five years ... but the one area that never dropped was sports tourism."
TBK, being developed by parent company BettPlex and founder Doug Kratz, will include a full-size synthetic turf soccer field, hardwood basketball and volleyball courts, sand volleyball courts, batting cages, personal training, physical therapy, food and beverage and retail space. Outdoor amenities include a synthetic turf soccer and lighted baseball and softball fields, as well as walking paths and parking.
Lynn Hunt, of the Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, said TBK will open up the Quad-Cities to bidding on and hosting large national and regional sports competitions.
"We talk to rights holders (of these events) all the time," Hunt said. "The No. 1 thing they want to know about is venue."
According to Kira Brabeck, BettPlex marketing director, the 77-acre complex likely will become a home base for many local teams, but an estimated 750,000 visitors are expected each year. The complex also includes High 5 Lanes & Games, a 64,000-plus square-foot family entertainment center. Future plans call for another $12 million in commercial development, including two hotels, two standalone restaurants and more.
"The Quad-Cities has never had anything like this," Brabeck said, adding she fields hundreds of e-mails daily from prospective events. "It will be one of the largest interactive sports complexes in the Midwest."
She said the complex will open its outdoor fields with its first baseball tournament May 4, and its indoor fields will see action in early June.
Gallagher said the city of Bettendorf was looking at developing its own sports complex when Kratz, a Quad-City banker, came forward with plans for an indoor soccer field.
"We married both concepts, and now you have an amazing amenity, and it's a private development," the mayor said, adding that opening weekend will host 100 baseball teams at TBK, which will draw an estimated 4,000 people.
"This is a game-changer," he said. "I don't even think the economic development leaders understand what this is going to do for the Quad-Cities."