Brampton set to host World Junior Women’s Softball tourney

Brampton businesses are gearing up as the city hosts the International Softball Federation’s 2013 Junior Women’s World Championship next week.

“We tried to hire local Brampton companies when and wherever we could,” Event chair Jason Scott told YourMississaugaBiz.com.

One of the Brampton businesses heavily involved in the open format event is family-owned private bus company Parkinson Coach and Tours.

Event organizers have commissioned approximately 20 of Parkinson’s vehicles for shuttling teams, spectators and officials between Pearson airport, partner hotels and game venues.

“We knew right out of the gate it’d obviously be our biggest expense,” Scott said, estimating the total being spent on transportation at more than $130,000.

With players coming from as far as Singapore and Botswana, more than four hundred hotel rooms in Brampton were blocked off for the event, at locations including the Best Western, the Hilton Garden Inn and the Holiday Inn Toronto-Brampton Hotel & Conference Centre.

Food will also be provided by four Brampton businesses, including Cart and the Park and Catering by Gregory’s, which is offering meal plan options for some of the teams.

The City of Brampton has also spent more than $400,000 in upgrades at the South Fletcher’s Sportsplex and Old Fairgrounds Ball Park at Memorial Arena for the championship.

Those upgrades included a refurbished batting cage, the installation of new scoreboards, fencing, field repairs and other maintenance work that probably would have taken place over a period of 10 years, instead of the last two.

“It’s absolute a terrific legacy for us,” Scott said, noting the work also took place at smaller city venues like Duggan’s Park and diamond at County Court. “That’ll here for the Brampton Girls’ Softball Association for years to come.

Getting support from corporate sponsors was a much more difficult endeavour. “I’ll tell you, it’s a much tougher sell,” Scott said, saying women’s fast-pitch softball is often considered a ‘niche’ sport.

“If this was the junior boys’ hockey championships like they show on TSN, for me to get a six-figure title sponsor, I would have had people lining up, I know that.”

Despite those challenges, Scott was able to sign up Royal Bank of Canada, CIBC, the Bank of Montreal, a local warehouse company and smaller sponsorships.

Of the 50-100 local businesses in Brampton that Scott reached out for partnerships and involvement, around 10-12 ended signing up. “Ranging from small donations of a few thousand dollars to $10,000,” Scott said.

Event organizers also received support from the Brampton Board of Trade, Tourism Brampton and a $250,000 contribution from Softball Canada.

The tournament begins July 1 and concludes with the gold medal game on July 7.

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