Toyota, Morgan’s Wonderland and the San Antonio Scorpions today announced Toyota’s presenting sponsorship of the world’s first theme park specifically designed for special-needs individuals along with the new San Antonio Scorpions soccer and special-events stadium.
Toyota, already a strong presence in San Antonio through its Tundra and Tacoma truck assembly plant Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX), now will extend that presence into the community with their San Antonio area dealer’s and their distributor, Gulf States Toyota, local involvement in the soccer sponsorship.
Morgan’s Wonderland, the San Antonio Scorpions and the people of the San Antonio area had already developed a very unique relationship to jointly provide a meaningful program for persons with special-needs and the community in the building of the theme park and providing funding for the programs through the soccer club, both supported by community fans and visitors to both.
As presenting sponsor of unique and colorful Morgan’s Wonderland in San Antonio, Toyota will provide major financial support for the 25-acre theme park, which is completely wheelchair-accessible. It features more than 25 elements and attractions including rides, playgrounds and gardens, and in its brief history, it already has attracted guests from all 50 states and more than 30 other countries.
Presenting sponsorship of Scorpions stadium will include naming the facility as Toyota Field. As a member of the North American Soccer League (NASL), which is one step removed from Major League Soccer, the Scorpions are the only team in professional sports to be organized for the expressed purpose of supporting a non-profit such as Morgan’s Wonderland that seeks to help those with special needs.
“Toyota is pleased to support Morgan’s Wonderland and the San Antonio Scorpions,” said Jack Hollis, Vice President of Marketing at Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. “We are honored to be able to support the mission of Morgan’s Wonderland. In less than three short years, the park has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people with special needs and their families. And now the Scorpions bring both the excitement of pro soccer and a revenue stream for the park; this is a win-win situation for everybody. Toyota, our regional distributor Gulf States Toyota, and the San Antonio-area Toyota dealers are proud partners in sponsoring Morgan’s Wonderland and the Scorpions.”
At the announcement, the new “Morgan’s Wonderland presented by Toyota” signage was unveiled by 18-year-old Morgan Hartman, namesake of the park. This signage will be featured throughout the park and in promotional materials. Three Toyota mobility vehicles will also be displayed at Morgan’s Wonderland.
Toyota Field signage on the 8,000-seat stadium under construction on Thousand Oaks Drive near Morgan’s Wonderland was also unveiled during the announcement. Toyota support for the Scorpions will be visible in multiple communications initiatives for the team.
Capable of expansion in stages to 18,000 seats, the new stadium home of the Scorpions will be completed in time for the 2013 NASL soccer season and also will host community events and concerts.
“As the regional player here in Texas for Toyota, Gulf States Toyota and our six San Antonio dealers will take the lead in the Scorpions-Toyota Field portion of the sponsorship,” said J.C. Fassino, Vice President of Community Relations for The Friedkin Group, parent company of Gulf States Toyota. “We are pleased to be able to support the Scorpions, their games and their mission of funding for Morgan’s Wonderland. It is a unique sports partnership.”
San Antonio philanthropist Gordon Hartman and his wife, Maggie, led the effort to create Morgan’s Wonderland so people of all ages with and without disabilities could come together in a safe, colorful, barrier-free park for fun and understanding.
Morgan’s Wonderland opened in spring 2010 along with the South Texas Area Regional (STAR) Soccer Complex, which like the Scorpions, conveys net profits from the operation of 13 first-class, FIFA-sized playing fields to the theme park.
Because anyone with a physical or cognitive special need is admitted free to Morgan’s Wonderland, Hartman sought other revenue streams to help the park meet its financial obligations as well as to expand programs and services for the special-needs community.
The San Antonio Scorpions FC grew out of Soccer for a Cause, a community-wide effort to bring pro soccer to San Antonio and generate net profits for Morgan’s Wonderland. Soccer fans in Greater San Antonio participated in naming the team, designing the team logo, selecting the team’s uniforms and other related functions.
In April 2012, the San Antonio Scorpions FC began play as the newest team in the NASL and started generating net profits for Morgan’s Wonderland.
“We are deeply grateful to Toyota for the support pledged to Morgan’s Wonderland and the Scorpions,” said Hartman, CEO of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation. “Toyota is a world-class company with a passion for excellence that extends to helping causes that truly make a difference in people’s lives. We’re just beginning to scratch the surface in helping those with special needs, but Toyota’s involvement, commitment and generosity will definitely help accelerate our efforts.”
Scorpions President Michael Hitchcock said Toyota Field will be “a first-class playing facility where exciting professional soccer will ultimately produce victories for individuals with physical and cognitive challenges. We’re proud to have Toyota’s name on the stadium because it will remind us to continually strive for outstanding performance. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Toyota.”