Former CEO of the Kentucky Recreation and Parks Society and current Jefferson County Board of Education member Chuck Haddaway is launching what he calls “the premiere traveling sports and tourism provider” for female athletes between the ages of 8-16.
Dubbed BrookeMont, the Louisville-based startup will host tournaments all over the country for female youth athletes in “diamond and court” sports. The first few tournaments — all fast-pitch softball — will launch in 2017; other sports will be added in the future.
Pay-to-play youth sports leagues are a booming business. It is estimated that 21 million kids are involved in non-school youth sports, and girls make up around 40 percent of this group. Youth travel sports have become a $7 billion industry.
Haddaway says he decided to create BrookeMont after seeing how his quiet and reserved daughter became a fierce competitor while playing sports.
A sports industry veteran, Haddaway previously served as executive vice-president of Athletx, a sports management company, and as a board member of the Kentucky Sports Authority. He has served on the JCPS school board since 2013 and is not running for re-election.
Some big-name investors are on board for this new venture, including Louisville Bats President Gary Ulmer, venture capitalist Koleman Karleski, entrepreneur Doug Cobb, and business executive George Vieth.
The company will host five to six weeklong fast-pitch tournaments in the summer of 2017 in the Northwest, Southwest, Midwest and Southeast. Final site locations will be determined by the end of October, and each site is expected to attract 40-60 teams and their families.
What Haddaway thinks will set this tournament apart from those of his competitors is that BrookeMont also will program social events and activities around the sporting events. There will be dance parties and group excursions to museums and amusement parks.
“Each tournament component of the event will be wrapped with off-the-diamond entertainment options to round out the experience and (make it) unique to the location,” Haddaway told IL in an email. “Fan-families that travel and cheer on their favorite athletes will have an opportunity to share in local attraction discounts, produced in partnership with the area’s convention and visitors bureaus and sports commissions.”
Haddaway is working with local PR and marketing firm Execuity to promote these tournaments. Execuity co-founder Dayna Neumann, a lifelong athlete who won a girls’ basketball national championship in eighth grade, stressed the “memory-making” aspect of what BrookeMont wants to become. “This will be the best experience for young student athletes,” she said.
Disclosure: Entrepreneur Doug Cobb is an investor in Insider Louisville.