Angel Natal – senior director of community development – Perfect Game
Angel Natal started in the sports world as a high school baseball coach and coached at Ripken Baseball. He transitioned to work with Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater in 2005 before moving to work with Visit Tucson in 2013 and then to Lee County Sports Development in 2016. In 2020, Natal’s first year with Perfect Game, he helped incorporate citizen and visitor data elements as part of the organization’s global events.
Perfect Game is the world’s largest elite youth baseball and softball platform and scouting service. It produces more than 5,500 tournaments, 40,000 games, showcases, and events each year across the country.
Natal said Perfect Game is dedicated to giving amateur players exposure on the college and professional level. The events allow players to perform with top-level competition in front of college recruiters and professional scouts for Major League Baseball. More than 1,400 Perfect Game alumni have played in the MLB, and more than 12,776 players have been selected in the MLB First-Year Amateur Player Draft.
In the 2020 Draft, 93 percent of all players selected had played in Perfect Game events, and all but one player selected on the first day draft had previously attended Perfect Game events.
During the 2019 College World Series, every player on the national champion roster for Vanderbilt and all but one on the Michigan roster had played in a Perfect Game event.
In 2021, Natal said Perfect Game’s regional leaders are working in communities across the U.S. to highlight citizen and visitor-based events. “Understanding that our tourism partners primarily focus is overnight visitation, incorporating a citizen element to any event helps with long term success. Our Perfect Game initiatives for our showcase and tournament signature events will continue to be potential annual options for some destination partners.”
Natal said PG Tech will allow for various levels of athlete performance evaluations and destination management organization partnerships beyond room nights. And Natal said PerfectGame.tv will enhance the events and shared partner messages.
“Understanding the challenges that have been presented to us during this pandemic, I can share that thanks to many of our DMO Sports Tourism partners, we have been able to create some successful events during these challenging times,” Natal said. “As we move into 2021 and beyond, communities that will transition beyond a room night approach will lead in the most significant economic reopen and recovery effort to achieve long-term success in sports, tourism, and economic development.”