Mesa sports park owner files for bankruptcy, looks to sell 320-acre venue

May 1, 2023, 12:23 PM

(Facebook Photo/Legacy Park, Arizona's Premier Sports & Entertainment Complex)...

(Facebook Photo/Legacy Park, Arizona's Premier Sports & Entertainment Complex)

(Facebook Photo/Legacy Park, Arizona's Premier Sports & Entertainment Complex)

PHOENIX – The owner of the venue formerly known as Bell Bank Park filed for bankruptcy Monday, just 16 months after the sprawling Mesa sports park opened to much fanfare.

Legacy Cares Inc., the nonprofit group that owns and operates Legacy Park: Arizona’s Premiere Sports & Entertainment Complex, also announced that it hired an investment banking firm to facilitate the sale of the 320-acre indoor-outdoor facility.

“Legacy Cares’ goal is to preserve this landmark facility so it can continue to serve the community for many years to come,” Douglas Moss, the group’s president, said in a press release.

“Legacy Cares intends to use this process to protect and support the park’s business operations and address Legacy Cares’ debt obligations while working towards an orderly and efficient possible sale of Legacy Cares’ assets in a manner that maximizes their value.”

The park has hundreds of events scheduled through 2030 and is expected to operate as usual during the Chapter 11 and sale processes, according to the release. Legacy Cares said it hopes to complete the sale in August, although it didn’t mention a buyer in the release.

Court filings and other information about the bankruptcy proceedings are being posted to a website administered by claims agent Epiq Corporate Restructuring.

In the U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing, Legacy Cares reported $366.7 million in liabilities and $242.3 million in assets.

In addition to hiring investment banker Miller Buckfire & Co. for the sale, Legacy Cares said it brought in Rodney Reese to oversee day-to-day management. Elite Sports Group, which Legacy Cares recently hired to replace Legacy Sports USA as the park’s manager, will report to Reese under the new structure.

“Today’s announcement of a reorganization along with recent significant management changes will better position Legacy Park to serve as a destination where families and athletes of all ages can enjoy a safe, friendly, high-quality environment to experience different sporting, artistic, educational and entertainment amenities,” Moss said.

Legacy Park’s amenities include eight baseball and softball fields; 19 basketball courts; 35 soccer, football and lacrosse fields; 57 indoor volleyball courts; and 41 pickleball courts.

The complex at Ellsworth and Pecos roads, near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, also has 25 acres of festival space, a 3,000-seat outdoor stadium and a 2,800-seat indoor arena.

It opened as Bell Bank Park in January 2022 under a 10-year naming rights deal with Bell Bank, a North Dakota-based financial services company with Arizona locations.

The bank announced three weeks ago it was ending the partnership, citing numerous defaults and public reports of financial concerns.

The park has struggled financially despite welcoming more than 4.3 million visitors in 2022 and another 1.9 million so far this year.

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Mesa sports park owner files for bankruptcy, looks to sell 320-acre venue