American Cornhole Organization considers locating headquarters in Butler County

The American Cornhole Organization is considering several location, including Butler County, to locate its world headquarters. PROVIDED

Combined ShapeCaption
The American Cornhole Organization is considering several location, including Butler County, to locate its world headquarters. PROVIDED

Hamilton, Liberty Center named as possible locations for landing spots for ACO.

Butler County could be the future home of the world headquarters of the American Cornhole Organization.

Exactly where in Butler County could be one of a few spots, but Frank Geers, founder and CEO of the ACO, said Hamilton and Liberty Center were two of their considerations. He said a world headquarters is the “next logical step” in growing the organization and the sport of cornhole.

“While we have a national footprint for our competitions, we want to establish a centerpiece location where we not only can put on major cornhole events, but can attract fans and players throughout the year,” said Geers.

Butler County is one of the leading locations to locate a permanent base of operations, and Geers said they want to be in a community for the next decade or longer.

Combined ShapeCaption
The American Cornhole Organization is considering several locations, including Butler County, to locate its world headquarters. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

The American Cornhole Organization is considering several locations, including Butler County, to locate its world headquarters. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

Combined ShapeCaption
The American Cornhole Organization is considering several locations, including Butler County, to locate its world headquarters. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

“This is a really, really big decision on American Cornhole Organizations’ part. We have liked everything we’ve seen about Butler County. They’ve been very cooperative so far,” he said. “The different locations we’ve looked at in Butler County have been intriguing, from Hamilton to the Liberty Center area to a couple of other spots out there. It certainly one of the top choices in our books, to where we might locate the world headquarters.”

Travel Butler County, formerly the Butler County Visitor’s Bureau, is actively working to attract the ACO to Butler County.

“Anytime you have the opportunity to bring a national sports organization into your community, is something that has to be looked at seriously,” said Travel Butler County President and CEO Mark Hecquet. “They have a number of events, a high profile, so it makes them very attractive.”

He wouldn’t comment on the confidential discussions with the ACO, but said they’ve shown the ACO team potential sites, and “conversations are ongoing.”

The ideal space is something around 20,000 to 25,000 square feet for the organization founded in 2005, and it would be a space that will include a cornhole museum, a cornhole hall of fame, and a cornhole cafe. But visitors to the world cornhole headquarters won’t be there just for the sport.

“We want to tie in with other bars and restaurants as this is not a stand-alone facility where people come to it,” Geers said. “We want it to be a destination for players to come to, but then come there with the chance to enjoy a lot of other things going on around.”

Combined ShapeCaption
The American Cornhole Organization is considering several locations, including Butler County, to locate its world headquarters. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

The American Cornhole Organization is considering several locations, including Butler County, to locate its world headquarters. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

Combined ShapeCaption
The American Cornhole Organization is considering several locations, including Butler County, to locate its world headquarters. PROVIDED

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

Hamilton’s Spooky Nook Sport Complex at Champion Mill is a factor in a possible decision to land in Hamilton, said Geers. It is a facility that can host a weeklong cornhole tournament that could attract 1,000 to 1,200 spectators and contestants from 40-plus states and several countries.

“We are going to try to work it out, and hopefully we’ll eventually be doing some stuff with Spooky Nook,” said Geers of the 1.2 million-square-foot sports center. “Our ultimate goal is to bring once every five years the world championships of cornhole to Butler County.”

An ACO world headquarters would mean a lot to any community that lands the project, and Geers said it could equate to millions of dollars of economic impact to a community, and not just by bringing in events and tournaments.

“I think it can really turn into that’s several million dollars a year as it grows,” he said. “It’s not just going to be the economic impact of bringing people in to spend on the restaurants and the bars and things like that around there. But it’s also going to be the exposure we bring to Butler County, Hamilton or Liberty Center through the live streaming where we have millions and millions of minutes viewed on an annual basis.”

The ACO has been looking around Greater Cincinnati, including Northern Kentucky and downtown Cincinnati, and there are a number of proposals on several sites Geers’ team is reviewing.

The ACO is in its 17th season and has 35 major competitions. The 2021-22 season ends with the ACO World Championships in July in Branson, Mo.

ACO is hosting a Welcome Bash on Thursday at Liberty Center and hosts ACO Cincinnati Major, a two-day major tournament on Friday and Saturday at GameTime, 530 Quality Blvd., Fairfield.

A decision could be three to five months away, Geers said, as “there’s a lot of work that goes into this, a lot of decisions to be made.” But even after a location is picked, it could be another six to 18 months to get everything up and running, he said.

While specific details outside of a museum and cafe aren’t being revealed, Geers said there would be a lot of live streaming and customized television programming coming from the facility. A center court will be the marquee court for recording, complete with high-end cameras, trusses and staging where they can shoot some of the programming.

They also plan to use the facility for corporate outings.

“Besides bringing in big ACO events on a weekly, monthly and annual basis, we’re looking to bring a lot of corporate outings there, really support the community, to get the community behind being a part of this destination because it will be the only one in the world,” Geers said.

Michael “Fin” Walter, ACO’s podcaster, broadcaster and advocate, said the ultimate goal is to make long-term relationships in whatever community the land.

“We want to invest as much into this community as they invest into us,” he said.

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