UPDATED: June 4, 2016
ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- More 3,200 people including 128 teams from all around the Midwest are christening the eight new courts at UW Health Sports Factory for Rockford Hoops' grand opening shootout tournament. Whether player, coach, parent, or referee, everyone seems to agree on at least one thing so far, the new facility is nothing but net.
"It's beautiful. We've been to so many basketball games and this is really, really nice," said Beverly Cochiolo. She and her husband Tony were visiting from California to watch their grandchildren. "The openness, it's very open and you can see all of the games from everywhere, and it is quite nice."
"You'd think you're in Europe or something when you look out on the water and with what you see with all the trees out the windows," Tony complimented. "What you guys have put here is pretty fantastic."
"We've traveled quite a bit but this is by far the best place I've seen," said Monmouth girls basketball Coach Eric Shelton. "I like the area, the water is cool, the girls are going to have fun."
"I'd say this facility has the best floors," said Chicago Impact player Lavor Lindsey. "Because if you were like running a fast-break, you could stop on a dime, you wouldn't slip or anything like that."
The RACVB estimates that the opening tournament will have an economic impact of nearly $120,000 and with its open space and versatility, it has more than 300 days of events already booked in its inaugural year.
ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A grand opening and a bigger relief for local athletes and their parents as the UW Health Sports Factory welcomes in the community.
Expected to bring in millions for the local economy, the UW Health Sports Factory should make a big impact in the Stateline, however local teams are more excited for another reason.
The Rockford Heat 6th and 7th grade girls basketball teams are pumped for this weekend's first tournament at the UW Health Sports Factory.
12-year-old Brooklyn Gray is excited to cut down on travel time.
"I was really excited to play here because this is our hometown and we don't have to drive three or four hours everywhere. Because my mom does not like driving more than two hours. To tell you the truth, she really does not," says Gray.
Construction on the facility began just last April and it already has 310 of the next 365 days booked, starting June 4. Heat Head Coach Mike Jamerson says walking into the $24 million complex brought him a feeling like no other.
"It brought chills to my body. Being a Rockford kid, we never had anything like this for the youth and the ultimate goal was to get this for the youth and it's a beautiful thing for the community and Rockford," says Jamerson.
And if the Heat is going to protect the Hardwood as if it's their home, Gray and her teammates are ready to stand up to the competition.
"We're going to fight. We're going to do whatever it takes to win. We're going to [growls]."
The Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau expects the complex to bring in about 500,000 guests every year and rake in about $16 million for the local economy. If you would like to get a sneak peek of the building, you can get a free tour on Friday, June 3, from 3-7 p.m.