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Outstanding Venues: New Home Bases for Innovative Events

27 Sep, 2016

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

There comes a time when every event owner is looking for a new home for his or her event. Maybe the event outgrew its facilities. Maybe a new location is needed in the rotation. Maybe it’s just time for a change. The problem is always the same: with so many outstanding facilities in the U.S., how do you know you’ve made the right choice?

Sometimes, it just comes down to making that leap of faith. Sports Destination Management wants to make it an easier jump by providing a short list of great venues. Whether an event plays out in the pool, on the field, on an indoor court or in an arena, there is a new home out there that is bound to be a hit.

Georgia: Dalton
Heritage Point Park

Heritage Point Park, the premier softball complex in Dalton, Georgia, sits on 300 acres and has 10 softball fields with diamonds and 310-foot-long fences. This exceptional venue offers an excellent concession stand, a scorekeeper tower and pavilions, including a corporate pavilion with amenities to accommodate up to 500 guests.

For families, Heritage Point Park offers plenty to do when not watching players on the field. With its two playgrounds, a disc golf course, walking/jogging trails and numerous picnic shelters, the park has endless opportunities.

Conveniently located on I-75 between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Dalton has over 1,000 comfortable, major-brand hotel rooms and over 100 restaurants nearby. In addition to the close proximity offering ease of access, Dalton is also affordable. Edge Magazine reported Dalton ranked 15 percent below the national average for goods and services.

Illinois: Schaumburg /Chicago Northwest
Schaumburg Convention Center

The Schaumburg Convention Center, an ideal destination for cheer & dance, mat and court events, is the powerhouse facility in the Midwest with abundant free parking.

This 100,000 square-foot state-of-the-art convention center features pillar-free space, 30-foot ceilings, 120 feet of covered dock space, a 19,000 square-foot flexible foyer, in-hall concessions and Wi-Fi access throughout.

Grants and incentives make the Schaumburg Convention Center an attractive Illinois destination. Events new to Illinois may qualify for assistance to bring that event to Schaumburg.

Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel is seamlessly connected to the Convention Center offering 474 guest rooms, 26 spacious suites and an additional 48,000 square feet of meeting space including a 27,500 square-foot ballroom. In addition, over 4,500 hotel rooms are available within a short drive from the convention center offering attendee price and brand flexibility.

Dining, entertainment and shopping abound with over 100 restaurants within a five-minute drive from the Schaumburg Convention Center anchored with world-class shopping at Woodfield Mall.

Located at the crosswords of major highways and minutes from O'Hare International Airport, Schaumburg provides attendees with easy access. Metra rail lines can transport sightseers to downtown Chicago within minutes to enjoy the city’s landmark architecture, the remarkable museums and parks and its stunning lakefront. www.schaumburgconventioncenter.com

Illinois: Effingham
Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Complex

The Richard E Workman Sports and Wellness Complex has everything necessary to make a sporting event into a huge success. The complex is centrally located at the crossroads of I-57 and I-70, making it a perfect location for teams to travel from all over the Midwest.

The venue offers a multi-sport court with beautiful maple flooring that can be utilized for basketball or volleyball, providing two regulation-sized courts for each sport. It is also able to accommodate a wide range of ages with its adjustable rim heights. The complex boasts the capabilities of holding over 1,000 spectators for these events. The staff is also happy to accommodate non-traditional sports of any kind.

A great added bonus of our complex is that while athletes are competing, there is a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including an elevated walking track, fitness center with group fitness classes and two beautiful indoor pools including a 25-yard lap pool and a recreational pool with zero depth entry. In short, the Workman Sports Complex is the place to host the next sporting event.

Indiana: Hamilton County, Westfield
Grand Park

Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana, is one grand facility in a community filled with top-notch venues. Just north of Indianapolis, Hamilton County is becoming a premier destination for sporting events.

Grand Park is a destination like no other. The thoughtfully designed 400-acre Grand Park Sports Campus features an impressive lineup of playing space, and its amenities make it an ideal tournament and event host. With 26 diamonds, 31 multi-purpose fields, eight indoor basketball/volleyball courts and three indoor full-size soccer fields Grand Park is a destination for year-round competition. Whether an organization is planning a youth event or a national championship, teams (and fans) will be treated to top-quality amenities that can only be found at a complex of this magnitude.

The dedicated team at the Hamilton County Sports Authority offers tournament event planners an array of championship-caliber venues and support services to ensure your event is a success. But your support doesn’t stop at sports – Hamilton County works to provide a myriad of activities for those seeking a memorable experience on and off the field.

It’s easy to start planning the next sporting event with the help of the Hamilton County Sports Authority’s expert staff at HamiltonCountySports.com.

North Carolina: Greensboro
Greensboro Aquatic Center (GAC)

The Greensboro Aquatic Center (GAC) is a 78,323-square-foot state-of-the-art-facility featuring leading-edge concepts in aquatic design. Built in 2011 at a cost of nearly $19 million, the GAC has quickly emerged as one of the top aquatic facilities in the nation.

The GAC is located on the campus of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, the premier sports and entertainment facility in the Southeast. This multi-purpose, three-pool site brings together all major aquatic sports – competitive swimming and diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and other unique sports, all in one venue.

The GAC has recently played host to an impressive national swim meet calendar, including the 2012 and 2013 YMCA National Short Course Championships, and the 2012 U. S. Masters Swimming Spring National Championships, which featured a field of more than 1,850 swimmers, including 12 Olympians. Other elite events hosted at the GAC include the U.S. Synchronized Swimming 2012 Olympic Team trials, 19 consecutive days of USA Diving National Championship competitions, and the 2013 and 2014 ACC Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.

North Carolina: Winston-Salem
BB&T Sports Park

BB&T Sports Park, a premier multi-purpose facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, offers 90 acres of configurable fields including 13 full-sized Bermuda grass fields, with 11 of the fields permanently lighted and seating up to 1,400, with additional hillside seating for 1,000. The sports park boasts an impressive resume, hosting multiple national championships including the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates National Championship, USA Ultimate Division III National Championship and multiple soccer national championships.

Additionally, the sports park has a 5,800-square-foot field house offering multi-media classrooms/meeting rooms capable of seating 120, restrooms, Wi-Fi, a filming tower, concessions and offices. Other onsite amenities include a picnic shelter that can seat 200, two walking paths (one-mile and 3.1-miles), ample parking and multiple water stations.

The Visit Winston-Salem team can assist owners every step of the way when planning a sporting event, with help on venue site selection, overnight housing accommodations and hotel room block coordination, garnering media coverage and a comprehensive database of local volunteers. Contact Bonny Bernat, sports events manager, by phone at 336-728-4200 or by e-mail at Bonny@visitwinstonsalem.com to see what incentives Visit Winston-Salem can provide for events or go to VisitWinstonSalem.com/Sports.

Ohio: Butler County
Voice of America Athletic Complex

Located conveniently in West Chester, Ohio, the new Voice of America Athletic Complex is an incredible facility ready to host a wide range of field sports. Featuring 22 tournament-quality multi-purpose fields (two turf, 20 grass), paved parking, nearby hotels, restaurants, attractions and more, Voice of America is the perfect place for an event.

The Voice of America Athletic Complex sits within a larger 435-acre park. The Complex and park have hosted events ranging from the USA Ultimate Open to USA Triathlon’s Youth & Junior National Championships. Flexible layouts and great amenities make it a top choice for sports rights holders nationwide.

The park is within a one-day drive of 60 percent of the U.S. population, and sports organizers love the quick access from four nearby interstates (I-75, I-275, I-71 and I-70). The Complex is just two miles from I-75. In addition, West Chester and Liberty Townships offer best-in-class shopping at Liberty Center, healthcare at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Liberty Campus and countless dining options all within a five-minute drive of the park.

An experienced and dedicated sports department at the Butler County Visitors Bureau is ready to take any event to the next level at the Voice of America Athletic Complex.

Oklahoma: Edmond
Lazy E Arena

Since its inception, the Lazy E Arena has hosted world champions, world championships and personalities galore. The main arena floor is 440’ x 160’, making it the largest indoor rodeo arena in the world. What started as the host site for the steer roping championship quickly became the epitome of quality rodeo production.

The Timed Everything Championship, taking place in March of every year, is the Lazy E’s marquee event.

While the building hosts close to 30 lease events annually, Lazy E Productions also produces an additional 12 championship quality events, some at the Lazy E Arena and the others spanning the country. It’s a marriage that has worked rather well for over 30 years.

The Lazy E is more than just a Western sports event facility. Also part of the formula is the Lazy E Ranch and Training Center. The arena has also hosted concerts, conventions, wedding receptions, bicycle racing, trade shows and dirt bike racing.

Possibly the most popular event in the Lazy E’s history is Bullnanza, which was developed in 1988 as a way to showcase the top bull riders in professional rodeo. The organizers pitted the best bull riders in the business against the baddest bulls. From those beginnings, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) was born.

Oregon: Redmond
Deschutes Expo

Deschutes Expo is the perfect location for virtually any kind of sporting event. The 320-acre event site is located in beautiful sunny Redmond, Oregon. The Expo complex includes a 4,000-square-foot stadium with 10,000-seat capacity, the Bank of the Cascades Center, NBA regulation basketball court and scoreboard, 200,000-square-foot flexible indoor event space, one indoor, two covered and one outdoor Livestock Arenas, off-road race track for motorsports, 75-plus acres of beautifully landscaped lawns and a full-service Expo RV park with 200 acres of parking.

On-site catering and concessions are provided to ensure exceptional quality and a dedication to excellence for all events.

Redmond is located at the heart of Oregon and is home to the regional airport, as well as an outstanding variety of lodging accommodations. Redmond enjoys over 300 days annually of high desert sunshine. It is known as the playground of the Pacific Northwest with abundant four-season recreation, championship golf, world class skiing and limitless diversity to offer. Deschutes Expo’s slogan is “We really can do it all,” and planners are eager to share the ways they can exceed event owners’ expectations.

Pennsylvania: Erie
Bayfront Convention Center

Erie’s Bayfront Convention Center offers more than 100,000 square feet of space and a ceiling height of 25 feet, making it the perfect venue for many types of events. The fact that the waterfront location of the venue and floor-to-ceiling windows offer guests a spectacular view of Presque Isle Bay is a bonus.

The facility offers more than 470 free parking spaces, and is connected to two award-winning hotels: the 200-room Sheraton Bayfront Hotel is easily accessible by a skybridge, and the 192-room Courtyard Erie Bayfront opened in July 2016. Both hotels offer stunning waterfront views and first-class amenities. The location of the complex along Erie’s Bayfront makes it readily accessible from Interstate 79 and Interstate 90.

The site hosted the VNEA World Junior Pool Championships in 2016, and plays host to several large-scale sports events annually, including the Stars and Stripes Gymnastics Invitational, the largest co-ed gymnastics invitational in Pennsylvania, and the PA State 8-Ball Championships.

The Erie County Convention Center Authority, which operates the Bayfront Convention Center, also operates the newly-renovated Erie Insurance Arena and Jerry Uht Ballpark, providing rights holders a breadth of options in the Erie, PA market.

For more information, visit eriesportscommission.com.

Tennessee: Pigeon Forge
Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge

If event owners consider the first three months of tournament action at the Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge as a season-opening home stand, the home team swept the series.

Cal Ripken, Jr., Baseball Hall of Fame member and Ripken Baseball’s chairman and founder, cut the ribbon on the six-field complex on March 9. The first tournament was March 12-13. In barely three months, there were 11 tournaments that attracted 363 teams from 23 states. Anchorage’s Alaska Quakes traveled the greatest distance to play on all-weather fields that offer unobstructed views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

The City of Pigeon Forge owns the $22.5 million project, and Ripken Baseball has a 10-year management contract. Assistant City Manager Eric Brackins noted that the first 11 tournaments drew almost 18,000 people to town. The cumulative spending was $6.7 million.

“We were confident Pigeon Forge would appeal to the players’ families, and we know that new visitors are almost certain to return for future vacations. We and Ripken Baseball have hit a grand slam,” Brackins said.

The facility hosts tournaments nine months out of the year and offers year-round branded events in its 14,000-square-foot clubhouse. Pigeon Forge visitor information is at MyPigeonForge.com.

Wisconsin: Oshkosh
Oshkosh Sports Complex

The Oshkosh Sports Complex is one of the Midwest’s finest fields and can accommodate a variety of events. J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium seats up to 10,000 guests, and Alumni Stadium at Tiedemann Field can accommodate 2,000.

Host to national competitions, including NCAA baseball, men’s and women’s track & field and men’s and women’s NCAA soccer, the Oshkosh Sports Complex is designed to be a multi-seasonal, multi-purpose facility suitable for state, regional and national sporting events.

Boasting an Olympic-quality outdoor track with an adjacent warm-up track and a state-of-the-art football/soccer field, featuring synthetic turf designed to reduce injury, the field allows a variety of sports to be played throughout any given season.

Situated near the center of Wisconsin, along Interstate Highway 41, Oshkosh is conveniently located and easy to navigate for those unfamiliar with the area.

Oshkosh, Wisconsin’s Event City, hosts more than 1,000 events and more than one million visitors every year. With a dozen hotels, numerous dining options, and a variety of galleries, theaters, museums and great outdoor options, there is never a shortage of entertainment and excitement for visitors to enjoy.

For more information, or to book an event, visit www.visitoshkosh.com or call 920-303-9200.

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