Europe’s largest sports entertainment park is set to open in Belgium this spring. Located in Limburg, Hasselt, Sparkx will be a new 3500 square metre leisure complex with a difference – offering over 50 sports, playable via Augmented Reality (AR).
The company’s strapline “The joy of finding your spark” emphasises the idea that there is a sport for everyone. It is the number of sports that can be played at Sparkx, rather than the size of the complex that is recordbreaking. Thanks to augmented and virtual reality, visitors will be able not only to practise well-known games such as football and basketball, but also to try out new ones. Curling, paragliding, sport fishing and even alpine skiing are among the more unusual disciplines available.
Using AR simulators and other technology, people will be able to access sports not usually easy to find and experience safely, from baseball or Japanese virtual dodgeball hado to Formula 1 driving. Sparkx is even inviting visitors of all ages to don a wingsuit and experience a flight!
Anja Swinnen, park leader at Sparkx told reporters, “once people here get the taste of a sport, they find their way to the local sports clubs more quickly. To lower the threshold, everyone can take the first or further steps in a certain sport at their own pace and level.”
The masterminds behind the leisure facility are six young businesspeople, and their financial backers.
We believe that ‘sportainment’ can be a bridge between fun and health, young and old, different sports levels and all sports on earth.Mathieu Renier, Co-founder
With a focus on exercise, healthy eating and well-being, the business plan encompasses more than just sports facilities. Teambuilding activities, birthday events, workshops and lectures on mental health and nutrition are also part of the mix.
“We are also open seven days a week,” Swinnen added. “On Wednesdays and weekends we mainly expect families and families, during the weekdays we focus mainly on schools and companies in the morning, from the afternoon everyone can of course come and play sports.”
The founders’ long-term goal is to open several facilities in Belgium and neighbouring countries. Meanwhile building work to complete the Hasselt leisure complex is now well under way. The park is projected to bring 40 jobs to the area and recruitment has begun.