OBETZ, Ohio — The Ohio Machine have announced a partnership with the Village of Obetz to build the nation’s first professional lacrosse-focused facility. The venue will serve as the home of the Ohio Machine, a member of Major League Lacrosse.
There was a groundbreaking on Nov. 17.
“There is a deep and sincere commitment from the Ohio Machine and Major League Lacrosse to the long-term growth of the game in the Midwest, centered here in Central Ohio,” said Ryan Chenault, Ohio Machine President. “The opportunity to partner with the Village of Obetz on this incredible facility will only enhance our abilities to further our mission of growing the game throughout the area.”
Obetz Fortress Field, as it’s to be called, will be a part of the village’s 250-acre recreational development which already has natural grass athletic fields, baseball and softball diamonds, two stocked ponds, park shelters, an athletic club, archery range, playgrounds, basketball courts, walking trails, and a quarter midget race track. The Fortress will include a roughly 18,000-square-foot office building, which will also house the front office operations for the Ohio Machine. The $15 million project will be completed prior to the 2017 Ohio Machine home opener against Rochester on May 6.
Mayor Greg Scott said, “We are proud to welcome the Ohio Machine and Major League Lacrosse to the Village of Obetz. We are confident Ohio lacrosse fans will enjoy Obetz Fortress Field every bit as much as the Machine’s opponents will dread it. We are excited to continue the tradition of family entertainment at the former site of the Columbus Motor Speedway; and, thrilled to deliver this amenity to the citizens of Obetz and the Central Ohio region.”
Guests at Fortress Field will enjoy games from an expansive 6,500-seat stadium, offering multiple seating levels all with tremendous unobstructed sight lines and exceptional closeness to the action playing out on the brand-new international-sized, turf field. On-field participants will play on an advanced athletic surface with world-class safety specifications, game-specific lining, and appropriate sizing for the contest. The game day experience will be enhanced through the integration of multiple state-of-the-art video boards at the venue. Additionally, the facility will feature expanded concession offerings, modern bathroom facilities, ample parking, and unique premium hospitality options that will elevate the facility to one of the premier settings of its size in the country.
For the Ohio Machine and MLL, the partnership and growing of the game is the most important aspect.
“Simply put, lacrosse is at the top of the list for fasting-growing sports in the United States and this stadium is another sign of that growth,” Major League Lacrosse Commissioner David Gross said. “I want to sincerely thank Village of Obetz Mayor D. Greg Scott, members of the Obetz Village Council and Village Administrator Davisson for their leadership and commitment on this project. This stadium is a game changer for Major League Lacrosse. It gives the Ohio Machine the platform from which they can expand their fan base, awareness of the sport and increase community support throughout the Midwest.”
Mayor Scott added, “Our partnership with the Ohio Machine will allow a new generation of young athletes in Obetz to not only learn a new sport; but also, to watch the world’s best play it in their own backyard. The Ohio Machine will help foster this growth by donating a portion of every ticket sold to fund youth lacrosse in Obetz.”
The Ohio Machine, coming off a season where the team made their first-ever appearance in the MLL Championship will begin their 2017 campaign on April 22 when they travel to Atlanta.
In past years, the Machine has played their home games at Ohio Wesleyan and Ohio Dominican universities.
Major League Lacrosse, will launch its 17th season on April 22. The league is made up of nine teams: The Atlanta Blaze, Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws, Florida Launch, New York Lizards, Ohio Machine and Rochester Rattlers. Each team will host seven home games and travel for seven road games with two bye weeks during the 15-week season. Each club has one “double header” week, with two games in the same week.
The champion Denver Outlaws and Ohio Machine will meet in a rematch of the 2016 MLL Championship Game on July 15, while the Charlotte Hounds will host Ohio in a rematch of last season’s playoff semi-finals game in Week 2.
In addition, the Machine will host its third annual Lacrosse Convention on December 3, 2016 at the Embassy Suites in Dublin, Ohio. The convention serves as a premier lacrosse, educational event that will bring coaches, referees and program administrators from youth, club, high school and even the college level together to accelerate the growth of the game. The Convention offers workshops and lectures covering everything from offensive techniques and defensive strategies, to goalie play, face-off work and even player strength and conditioning. The High School Leadership Program for both boys and girls will also be returning to the convention, as well as referee education and re-certification.
Registration for the full-day convention is $65; half-day High School Leadership Program is $35. To register for the 2016 Ohio Machine Lacrosse Convention or for more information, please visit www.theohiomachine.com or call 614-754-1973.
Information for this story was provided by the Ohio Machine and Major League Lacrosse.