Accessibility, Affordability and Adaptability in a “Typically American” Region | Sports Destination Management

Accessibility, Affordability and Adaptability in a “Typically American” Region

May 01, 2023 | By: Cindy Cantrell

Historian Frederick Jackson Turner’s 1893 assessment of the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. as ìtypically Americanî continues to ring true, even following 130 years of innovation. Lacking ìbarriers to shut out its frontiers from its settled regionî while linked by a system of connecting waterways, the region epitomizes accessibility within its important concentration of finance, media, communications, education, medicine, technology and sports tourism.

Maryland Sports Commission

Maryland | photo Courtesy of The Sport & Entertainment Corporation of Maryland

Since its founding in 2008, the Maryland Sports Commission has helped showcase the state to millions of spectators and visitors through event services, sports development, sports marketing and grants.

The organization partners with DMOs statewide to match events with the perfect state-of-the-art facility. For example, the Maryland Soccerplex hosted the 2022 Big East Conference Championships as well as numerous volleyball and basketball events on its 24 fields complemented by a 66,000-square-foot clubhouse.

In addition, the Maryland Sports Commission worked closely with the nonprofit Sport & Entertainment Corporation of Maryland to host the Maryland Cycling Classic supported by UnitedHealthcare and the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory.

“Our state really does live up to the motto ‘America in miniature,’” says Terry Hasseltine, executive director of the Maryland Sports Commission. “From our mountains to our beaches, from our urban and suburban hubs to the fact that our residents come from all walks of life, everybody can find something that reminds them of home when they visit Maryland.”


Delaware | photo Courtesy of
Delaware | photo Courtesy of

Delaware is a premier destination for all sports, teams and events within easy access of millions of players.

Home of the 76ers G League Delaware Blue Coats, Nemours Sports Medicine and Titus Sports Academy, Chase Fieldhouse boasts four turf fields, three full-size basketball courts and a 3,000-seat indoor arena. Sandhill Fields features eight Bermuda grass fields across 56 acres for cross-country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, pickleball and more.

The DE Turf Sports Complex, the state’s largest and only all-turf sports facility, has 12 lighted fields, including a championship stadium. Kirkwood Sports offers 14 fields and an indoor field for flag football, lacrosse, soccer and field hockey.

This year alone, the region is hosting the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship as well as numerous returning events.

“With no sales tax and a relatively low lodging tax, teams and spectators can enjoy an affordable experience convenient to the Wilmington Riverfront, pristine beaches, award-winning state parks and many other visitor-friendly attractions,” says Ryan Wolfe, sports sales leader with the Delaware Tourism Office.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach | photo Courtesy of Virginia Beach CVB
Virginia Beach | photo Courtesy of Virginia Beach CVB

With the new Virginia Beach Sports Center, it’s easier than ever to take your game to the next level.

The 285,000-square-foot facility offers 12 basketball courts, 24 volleyball courts, a 200-meter, hydraulic banked track and seating for 5,000 spectators. Located across from the Virginia Beach Convention Center, the sports center is also steps from restaurants, shops and attractions including the Town Center, world-renowned beaches and three-mile boardwalk.

Other state-of-the-art venues include the Virginia Beach Sportsplex and Princess Anne Athletic Complex. Upcoming events include the USA Gymnastics Level 8/9/10 Regional Championships, Teammate Basketball National Championship, North American Sand Soccer Championships and the region’s first-ever Jackalope Fest action sports celebration.

Virginia Beach is also home to the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, First Landing State Park, Military Aviation Museum, Mount Trashmore Park and Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum.

“We give you our best so you can bring out your best,” says Dani Timm, director of sports tourism for Visit Virginia Beach.

Stafford County, Virginia

Stafford County, Virginia
Stafford County, Virginia | Photo Courtesy of Tour Stafford, Virginia

Located halfway between Richmond and Washington, D.C., Stafford County, Virginia has the facilities, hotels, infrastructure and amenities needed to support competitors on and off the field, all within a day’s drive of 60 percent of the U.S. population.

Embrey Mill Park includes six multi-use synthetic turf fields and five grass rectangular fields. The Jeff Rouse Swim and Sports Center, a 76,000-square-foot aquatic venue with a 50-meter competition pool, hosted the NCAP Long Course and PWSC 12-and-under district championships.

Chichester Park held the Babe Ruth World Series for 13- to 15-year-olds, while the AJGA Junior All-Star Tournament took place at Gauntlet Golf Club. Anglers on the national scene head to the Potomac River for the Kayak Bass Fishing Trail Series and Snakehead Shootout.

“We make it easy and convenient for sports operators to choose Stafford,” says Lisa Logan, tourism program director for Tour Stafford, Virginia.

Huntington, West Virginia

Huntington West Virginia
Huntington  West Virginia | Photo Courtesy of Huntington Area CVB

From state-of-the-art facilities and fields to comfortable lodging and unique dining, Huntington, West Virginia makes any sports event successful and memorable.

The largest venues are the 100,000-square-foot Mountain Health Arena & Convention Center and Marshall University, which offers five facilities alone. Cam Henderson Center is home of Thundering Herd basketball and volleyball, while the Chris Cline Athletic Complex has a 300-meter track and 120-yard turf field.

The Brian David Fox Tennis Center boasts six lighted outdoor courts; Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex hosted the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament; and Joan C. Edwards Stadium accommodates 38,000 spectators.

A range of award-winning parks and other sports complexes are ideally suited for baseball, softball, football, cheerleading, wrestling and gymnastics, all minutes from Huntington Tri-State Airport.

“Events that come to Huntington are always made to feel welcome and important because they are,” says Tyson Compton, president of the Huntington Area CVB. “We would love to help make your next event the most successful yet!”

Loudoun, Virginia

Loudoun, VirginiA | Photo Courtesy of Loudoun County Parks Recreation and Community Services
Loudoun, Virginia | Photo Courtesy of Loudoun County Parks Recreation and Community Services

Home to Dulles International Airport and the new Washington Metrorail Silver Line, Loudoun, Virginia offers top-notch sports venues alongside spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Potomac River.

Set to host the US Youth Soccer Eastern Regionals in July, Loudoun’s new Hal & Berni Hanson Regional Park is a 257-acre complex with 12 multi-purpose fields including turf fields, baseball/softball fields, a cricket pitch, pickleball/tennis courts and a disc golf course. The award-winning Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park offers 17 lighted sports fields for baseball, softball, football, lacrosse and soccer.

ION International Training Center, site of the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championship Series, features two NHL-sized rinks and a 3,500-seat arena.

“Loudoun’s close proximity to Washington, D.C. makes it an easy choice as a top sports destination in Northern Virginia,” says Torye Hurst, director of sales, sports and client services at Visit Loudoun. “With championship-level venues and multi-purpose fields, Loudoun can welcome athletes of any age or sport.”

Wildwoods Convention Center

Wildwood, NJ
Wildwood, NJ | Photo Courtesy of Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority

With 260,000 square feet of modern, flexible space adjacent to the world-famous Boardwalk and award-winning beaches, the Wildwoods Convention Center offers one of the most spacious, innovative and inviting locations for indoor sporting events.

The venue is also uniquely suited for outdoor events, with 3,000 bleacher seats for surfing, boogie board, swimming, Ultimate, baseball on the beach, track and field, volleyball and beach soccer, field hockey and lacrosse competitions.

In addition, the Convention Center’s Housing Department offers convenient, hassle-free booking for more than 8,000 hotel/motel rooms and 3,000 condos to accommodate any need and budget.

“The Wildwoods Convention Center is truly the perfect venue for youth sports events, and the Wildwoods are the perfect location for families to have some fun and spend quality time together after the day’s competition is done,” says Ben Rose, director of marketing and public relations for the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority. “No other destination offers such a range of facilities and amenities.”

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City, NJ
Atlantic City, NJ | Photo Courtesy of Atlantic City Sports Commission

In addition to venues uniquely suited to sporting events of every size and scope, Atlantic City offers a multitude of diverse attractions, activities and entertainment for competitors and spectators alike.

There are more than 15 first-class facilities, including the LEED Gold-certified Atlantic City Convention Center which accommodates 18 basketball courts, 27 volleyball courts and 12 futsal courts across 486,000 contiguous square feet.

New events in 2022 included the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, Jimmy Johnson’s Atlantic City “Quest for the Ring” Championship Fishing Week, the Atlantic City Pickleball Open spanning 43 courts and NABA Intercity showcasing elite Filipino basketball and volleyball athletes.

Off the court, new entertainment options include Island Waterpark, the largest beachfront indoor waterpark in the world, and dining at Nobu Atlantic City and Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen.

“Atlantic City is the premier destination with every imaginable amenity you could ever want or need,” says Atlantic City Sports Commission Director of Sports Sales Daniel Gallagher. SDM

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