Players prepare to warm up before a baseball game at LakePoint Sporting Community in Emerson recently.

Owners of LakePoint announced they hired a longtime sports and corporate executive with longtime experience in brand development to lead the multi-sports complex in south Bartow County.

Mark O’Brien, who formerly served as president of Norcross-based Mizuno USA and chairman of Mizuno Canada, will lead the LakePoint Sporting Community as its president and CEO.

“LakePoint is truly unlike any other youth sports campus in the country — an impressive and impactful experience that stands above the rest,” O’Brien said.

“I’ve always had a passion for sports and for supporting kids with ambition and drive as they work toward their goals on and off the field," he said. "I am thrilled to join LakePoint and intend to ensure that, through its continued excellence and outstanding service delivery, it is a destination for young athletes to live out their dreams for decades to come.”

The 1,300-acre complex off I-75 in Emerson opened in 2014. Facilities include eight Major League-sized baseball fields; three multi-use fields for soccer, lacrosse and football; and a 170,000-square-foot Indoor Pavilion that has 12 basketball courts which convert to 24 volleyball courts.

O’Brien brings years of sports and brand experience to his new role, said an official with the company that owns the complex.

Jeff Bemis of LakePoint owner Rimrock Capital Management said O'Brien “has a robust background with deep experience in sports, marketing, retail and customer satisfaction while leading organizations."

“He has a special expertise in helping set brands up for lasting success, as well as an ethos that aligns with our vision and values," Bemis said.

"We can’t think of a better person to help usher LakePoint into this exciting new era, and I look forward to working with him to solidify LakePoint’s position as the ultimate authority in youth travel sports."

O’Brien has served in leadership roles in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors, including Mizuno USA and Mizuno Canada, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, The Original Honey Baked Ham Co., Johnsonville Sausage, and Miller Brewing Co., now MillerCoors.

His career has been "defined by employing a thoughtful, purposeful approach to transforming and revitalizing mature, rapid growth organizations; turning them into high-performing, established brands that are viewed as leaders in their respective industries," a news release stated.

O’Brien's work in the sports industry included several years in minor league baseball that included a stint as a general manager.

He also worked in sports marketing and branding, including assisting with the franchise’s brand partnerships, with the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

During his time with GMR Marketing, his work focused on customer engagement and experiential marketing for one of the top global sports entertainment and experiential marketing agencies, the release stated.

He comes to LakePoint after its recently announced joint venture with Prep Baseball Report (PBR) in late 2018.

PBR operates hundreds of amateur baseball events in 41 states and Canada and runs the country’s largest independent baseball scouting service.

It is set to host events for some of the nation’s top youth talent at LakePoint’s baseball facilities, which include eight Major League-sized fields.

O’Brien "will lead LakePoint as its continues to integrate into other sports verticals, leveraging its operational expertise, brand relationships, owned real estate and extensive capital resources," the release stated.

Bemis said the owners “were very intentional and strategic throughout this search as we sought to find a leader who could combine the visionary leadership needed to take LakePoint to the next level, while also providing the broad depth of experience in operations and marketing to lead this enterprise.

"Everything we were seeking kept leading us back to Mark. His experience with professional sports properties, Mizuno and the Boys & Girls Club of America gives him an invaluable perspective that will only enhance LakePoint’s status as the preeminent youth sports destination in the country.”

LakePoint is coming off one of its most successful years to date, the release stated.

In 2018, it hosted more than 1.25 million visitor days at its nationally recognized sports complex and generated nearly $100 million in economic activity for the region.

Last year, Rimrock invested nearly $8 million into LakePoint, which led to 10 percent overall growth and the start of construction of a $29 million road and bridge project for future development.

LakePoint hosted a variety of premier sports events in 2018, including the Georgia Special Olympics Winter Games, USA Cheer camp, the Harlem Globetrotters training camp and national championship tournaments hosted by Adidas, Nike and Under Armour and will do so again in 2019.

Its 2019 calendar is filled with a wide variety of sporting events and activities. Every weekend through mid-September the Indoor Pavilion is under contract with regional and national basketball, volleyball, gymnastic, wrestling and cheerleading events, the release stated.

For more information, visit https://www.lakepointsports.com.


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