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Paintball Goes Hollywood
Hollywood Sports Park
by Bill Mills
Photos and renderings courtesy SJS Enterprises

For years, players have talked about paintball as an "underground sport."  Many an idea or vision of the future was prefaced with "when we go mainstream..."  One may question "what is mainstream?"  Does it mean a professional league with a following like baseball or basketball, or does it mean that most people know what paintball is, and as many people play it as play other well accepted sports.

A lot of those mainstream dreams are coming true.  Paintball is played by millions of people every year.  According to American Sports Data, Inc., 6.4 million people played paintball in 1999.  Compare that to other commonly accepted extreme sports such as BMX racing with 3.7 million participants, or snow boarding with 4.7 million.  Another of those dreams is paintball fields taken to the next level, with paved parking lots, a location that's easy to get to,  and exciting fields, not just dirt and old shipping palettes.

Hollywood Sports park is staged to do just that.  Planned to replace the Bellflower Golf Course, the Hollywood Sports park will include not only paintball fields but grounds for several other extreme sports and banquet and entertainment facilities as well.   

The park has received both positive support and opposition from the surrounding community.  While the detractors did not want to lose their golf course, the proponents see the park as a major boost to the city of Bellflower.  While many paintball fields have had to "fight city hall" in the past, Hollywood Sports Park is being developed in cooperation with the city recreation department.  City councilman Joe Cvetko cited the park's 150-200 employees and $72,000 annual property lease alone as superior to the 5 jobs and $38,000 total income provided by the golf course.  "The park is a new chance to move Bellflower forward and thrive like the cities around us.." stated the councilman, referring to added tax revenues and additional customers for local businesses.

Even while the city was deciding about the park, design and construction was underway.  On site construction is scheduled to begin October 11th, 2000, with completion in time for a Summer 20001 grand opening.

The creative force behind the new park is SJS Enterprises.  In the land of glitter and fame, they throw movie release parties, while in paintball circles Dennis Bukowski and Giovanni Degidio are known for their paintball field, SC Village in Corona, CA.

Recognized as the world's most famous paintball field, SC, which sees over 100,000 visitors a year, has been the home to many paintball innovations including Speedball and the use of barrel plugs.  The SC Arenas, the new tournament section of SC Village have been open since spring of this year, yet have already been host to NPPL, Lively and Carter Classic tournaments.  Pan Am and Cal Jam tournaments will be held at the site before the year is out.

One of the unique features of SC Village are the motion picture props - airplane mock-ups and other vehicles that lend an air of fantasy to the fields.  Hollywood Sports Park will take that idea to the next level.  The paintball fields will be themed, with tie-ins to popular motion pictures.  Using actual props and exterior sets, the fields will create a science fiction, fantasy, or action environment in which to play.  Players will be able to take cover behind the same bunkers and barricades used by Mobile Infantry in Starship Troopers.  Sets from Super Nova and Godzilla will also generate unique field themes.  Cross promoted marketing will help promote the films, while also promoting the park, and paintball.  

The movie themes will also pervade the other sections of the park.  The multi-purpose center will be the hub of park activity.  Gift shops, pro-shops, a virtual reality arcade, restaurant and night club will all be themed with props and set pieces from various films, including Tom Cruise's F14 fighter from Top Gun bursting out the side of the building.

The arcade is being designed in partnership with video game giant Sega.  It will feature not only Sega's arcade games and Dreamcast systems, but also networked gaming allowing competitors to face off with, and talk to players in select networked arcades in other parts of the world.

A tennis complex, complete with stands for tournaments is expected to become home to some of Southern California's leading tennis competitions.  The freestyle skate zone is being designed in concert with Gravity Games and X-Games consultants to create a venue that is challenging, safe, and "broadcast friendly."  The BMX bicycle track will provide a professionally designed racing track, while the slick track speedway will host a racing league for 1/4 scale cars with the look and feel of the NASCAR and CART racing circuits.  Beach Volleyball, 3 on 3 basketball and Inline skating will round out the park's offerings while, like all of the other sections, being built with videotaping and broadcasting in mind.

Broadcasting and media considerations are important to the design of the park.  Already agreements have been signed to broadcast 2 sporting tournaments, including a skating portion of the X-Games.  For those who have wanted to see paintball in such extreme sporting television coverage, the inclusion of paintball in the park with the televised sports may open important doors.  At the 2000 X-Games finals in Las Vegas, the X-Games is scheduled to announce that the inline skating course used there will be moved, and installed at Hollywood Sports Park.

Hollywood Sports Park is scheduled to open in the Summer of 2001, in Bellflower, CA.  In addition to the initial site, SJS Enterprises is currently negotiating arrangements to franchise and or license the park design, theming, and brand names to bring Hollywood Sports to other cities around the United States.

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