Emerald Acres Sports Connection and the Sports Facilities Companies hired Tyler Yoder as General Manager. His extensive experience in athletics and event management will play a pivotal role in positioning Mattoon, IL, an up-and-coming multipurpose sports complex, as the sports tourism and recreation destination in the region.

A graduate of Ball State University with a Bachelor’s in Sports Administration and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of North Georgia, Yoder’s academic foundation complements his robust, practical experience for his new role at Emerald Acres. 

Having developed his leadership skills at the intercollegiate athletics level, notably as director for facilities and event management at Tulane University Athletics, the Champaign, IL native brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role. He reportedly “has demonstrated a powerful blend of strategic planning and operational excellence throughout his progressive career. He has spearheaded game and event logistics, managed facilities for multiple sports and skillfully coordinated tournaments and renowned sporting events.”

“I am very humbled and honored to be selected as the General Manager of Emerald Acres Sports Connection,” said Yoder, who will relocate from New Orleans for the position. “Joining the Mattoon community and contributing to a facility designed to be a first-class destination for athletes and their families is exciting and fulfilling.”

Located in Mattoon, IL, the project’s tagline, “Cultivated by Rural King,” denotes the partnership between the project and Farm and Home retailer, whose flagship store and store support center have resided since 1960. 

Rural King led many local businesses, organizations and community leaders to launch the $80 million indoor and outdoor sports facility under construction. The development is expected to impact local and regional economies, attracting 580,000 visitors annually, with estimated direct spending of $23.8 million, and generating 59,000 hotel room nights annually. 

When it opens in late 2024, Emerald Acres will be a sports and entertainment facility between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. It will support Illinois’ vibrant sports culture, inviting athletes and families to program-driven experiences.

Yoder’s first year at the helm will focus on financial objectives and fostering a customer-centric atmosphere among staff and hiring.

“From my initial discussions with The Sports Facilities Companies and the Emerald Acres Sports Connection Board of Directors, it was evident that there is a shared determination to deliver an unparalleled experience at Emerald Acres,” Yoder added, emphasizing the collaborative spirit fueling the project.

“Tyler’s exceptional track record in overseeing complex athletic events and his vision for a dynamic, inclusive sports facility aligns perfectly with our goal for the complex,” stated Vice President David Bounds of Sports Facilities Companies. “With his leadership, we foresee Mattoon becoming a hub for high-caliber athletic events, stimulating economic growth and underscore our commitment to community enrichment.”

The 150-acre venue, funded by a $2 million state economic development program grant, includes multi-sport facilities, a family entertainment center and integrated hospitality and retail spaces. The site’s forward-thinking design suits a wide array of activities, from local events to travel sports competitions.

Images courtesy Emerald Acres/Tyler Yoder