‘Owlz’ to hoot at Future Legends Complex



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US Future Legends Project welcomes Northern Colorado OWLZ Image: Future Legends Complex

The baseball team Northern Colorado Owlz (US) will soon be playing at an avant-garde multifunctional professional sports stadium at the Future Legends Complex, a new 118-acre sports and entertainment facility that is now under construction in Colorado and is set to open its doors in Spring 2022.

The Northern Colorado Owlz is an independent baseball team of the Pioneer League (independent baseball league), which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball but is an MLB Partner League, who is scheduled to begin play in 2021. They will be located in Windsor, Colorado (US), and play their home games at the Future Legends Complex.

The Northern Colorado Owlz, formerly known as Orem Owlz, has joined the newly formed Major League Baseball (MLB) Partner League and has moved from Orem, Utah, US to Colorado and the team as well as their new home is expected to give a shot in the arm to Colorado’s economy. The Owlz are an affiliate of the American professional baseball team Los Angeles Angels.

The Major League Baseball (MLB) is an American professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in Major League Baseball: 15 teams in the National League and 15 in the American League.

The Pioneer League has been named the MLB Partner League. The MLB and the Pioneer League jointly announced on November 30th, 2020, that the Pioneer League has been designated a ‘Partner League’ of MLB.

As a Partner League, the Pioneer League will collaborate with MLB to provide organized baseball to communities throughout the Western US and Canada.

The Katofsky family, which owns the ‘Owlz’ team since 2004, is also the prime developers and co-founders of Future Legends Complex.

Casey Katofsky, Future Legends Director of Operations and Co-Founder, said that his family loves sports and wanted to do a state of the art project like the Future Legends Complex for about a decade now. Katofsky and his father, Jeff Katofsky, toiled to bring their vision to life.

Casey Katofsky remarked, “We knew that the project up here was kind of started and slated as we intended, but it kind of fell through as well. We got contacted about three years ago and asked if we wanted to be the owners of this project and utilize the space. Obviously, the answer was yes.”

Casey Katofsky further informed that the family and development staff always planned to build the complex around a professional team, and everything had worked out for the best as the Owlz’ lease at their former stadium was ending, and the family did not have to worry about moving players to Northern Colorado.

Northern Colorado Owlz Owner and Future Legends CEO Jeff Katofsky said he had initially planned to relocate the team to Pueblo, Colorado, in 2020, where they would have been known as the Pueblo Owlz, but the plan was abandoned due to financial concerns expressed by the City of Pueblo.
 

Roadmap to ‘Future’

Apart from serving as a multipurpose professional stadium and the residence of the Owlz and other professional teams, Future Legends Complex will be a sports, entertainment and retail destination in Northern Colorado, that will have more than 20 outdoor fields and multiple baseball diamonds, a four-acre bubble dome with turf and hard court inside, dorm-style lodging for tournament participants, hospitality options, restaurants, retail space, and other amenities on-site. It will be Colorado’s elite sports facility for players of all ages and skill levels.

Jeff Katofsky stated, “Future Legends Complex will host sports tournaments for young athletes from across the nation, and the inclusion of professional baseball on the complex will be a huge source of excitement for tournament participants. We hope that when kids come here and experience all that Future Legends has to offer, including the chance to interact with professional baseball players from the NoCo Owlz, they will be inspired to continue with their sports dreams.”

Future Legends is all set to become the premier destination for sports and events.
 

Reap rewards

This multifaceted project will not only open the door for athletes, but anticipation runs high that it will create thousands of jobs and generate millions in sales tax revenue.

When Future Legends goes on stream in 2022, visitors will have the unique opportunity to experience a sports and entertainment adventure like none other. The Northern Colorado Owlz will enhance the experience with professional sports on complex, while hotels and dormitories on-site will make travel and hospitality easy for all visitors, and restaurants and retail will showcase all that Northern Colorado has to offer.

Stacy Miller, Director, Windsor Economic Development Office, said the complex is expected to create a tourism industry that hasn’t really existed before. In a preliminary estimate, Miller said it could generate more than $5 million in sales tax revenue per year once completed in 2022.

The estimates are that Future Legends could bring roughly 1 million to 1.2 million visitors annually. The complex’s team anticipates half of the visitors to be from outside the region.

The complex itself should create roughly 600 jobs, and the development team are hoping that 9,000 jobs will be created through the other retail and food service locations within one square mile of the facility. It is already advertising for spots in the complex, so businesses are encouraged to submit proposals.

Miller said she has worked on the project for about seven years – longer than the Katofsky family has been involved – and has held onto it with a “death grip”, because she saw the benefits it could bring to Windsor and the greater Northern Colorado region.

The complex and team could also have an immeasurable economic impact on the area. She said that the development will not bring economic benefits immediately but will gradually reap rewards for the community on which it sits. Other benefits include having the year-round shopping and dining options for locals, and the nature of the business is expected to lure people to Windsor during the weekend.

An avid baseball fan, Miller said she’s excited for the project on a professional and personal level, and looks forward to the project coming to fruition.

She further informed that revenue generated from the sales tax on dining, lodging and shopping will go towards the Windsor town for services like police, fire, parks. Miller said this money is called a “cleaner dollar” because the town will have to provide services to guests but not on the same scale as residents.

Miller added, “That’s why I’ve fought so hard for this industry, because it puts less strain on our infrastructure and internal staff and services, but it provides us with a whole new revenue stream. We have a little bit of tourism with our golfing, but we don’t really have anything like this.”

Jeff Katofsky is on the same page as Miller. He wants the arena to be diverse, entertaining and something Windsor residents can take pride on – “We really want to make sure the local community knows that this project is also for them. It’s not just a national project. We’re not just businessmen that come in and create something and leave.”

Jeff Katofsky added, “I moved my family out here to Northern Colorado and live here now. I have a whole team that moved out here. We really want to be a part of the community.”
 

Owlz genesis

The Owlz has been bestowed MLB Partner League status and will play against Partner League teams across Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah (US), with their first season tentatively running from Memorial Day Weekend (May 31st , 2021) to September 2021, pending COVID-19 boundaries.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Previously known as the Provo Angels (2001-2004), the Owlz earlier played at the Larry H. Miller Field on the campus of Brigham Young University in Northeastern Provo (Utah, US). Post-2004 season, the team changed hands (the Katofsky family became the owners) and moved from Provo to a new stadium in neighboring Orem. While retaining its affiliation with the MLB team Los Angeles Angels, the team subsequently announced a new name, the Owlz.

The Owlz became a MLB Partner League when the former joined hands with smaller baseball leagues – including the Pioneer League – in which the Owlz participate – to create the MLB Partner League. The Partner League can assist with certain operating costs, equipment and marketing.

Jeff Katofsky concluded, “This partnership will help the team and will also give players a direct path to larger teams within the MLB and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) circuit.”

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