On the Coast, Offering the Most | Sports Destination Management

On the Coast, Offering the Most

May 01, 2024 | By: Cindy Cantrell

History, arts, culture and sports come to life in the Mid-Atlantic. Athletes from every corner of the country travel for world-class competitions and adventures, while families appreciate the regionís natural wonders, cosmopolitan flair, culinary delights and one-of-a-kind attractions that create an unforgettable experience.


Highlands Sports Complex in Triadelphia, West Virginia

Highlands Sports Complex, Triadelphia, WV | Photo courtesy of Highlands Sports Complex
Highlands Sports Complex, Triadelphia, WV | Photo courtesy of Highlands Sports Complex

Opened in 2020 as a partnership between the Ohio County Development Authority and Sports Facilities Management, the Highlands Sports Complex in Triadelphia, West Virginia is a world-class sports and recreation facility that entices athletes and families alike.

The 200,000 square-foot, multi-purpose venue offers six hard courts, a vaulted indoor turf space, an outdoor field, batting cages, play climb area, second-floor mezzanine, onsite concessions and plentiful meeting and event spaces.

The complex’s convenient location off I-70 is yet another advantage, according to Highlands Sports Complex general manager Harvey Greenidge. Major events range from professional cornhole to expos, while competitions include soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, lacrosse, football, softball and pickleball.

“Our winning combination of first-class amenities and hospitable staff make athletes want to return year after year to experience the very best home for sports in Ohio County,” says Greenidge.

Harford County, Maryland

Harford County, MD | Photo courtesy of Heather Rees
Harford County, MD | Photo courtesy of Heather Rees

Located along the scenic shores of Chesapeake Bay, Harford County, Maryland offers picturesque beauty, bustling urban centers, historic harbor towns and a variety of world-class cultural and sports amenities.

At Ripken Experience Aberdeen, for example, amateur baseball players of all ages and skill levels learn “the Ripken way” on the same campus as Ripken Stadium, home of the Aberdeen IronBirds, a Single-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

As the largest indoor event facility in northeastern Maryland, APG Federal Credit Union Arena at Harford Community College hosts the Fighting Owls men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams. The newest addition to Harford County is the 40-acre Coppermine CopperPlex, with eight expansive turf fields.

The area is also popular for golf, championship bass fishing, hiking, biking, boating, historical museums, creative dining, craft breweries, wineries and an ice cream trail, all supported by 2,800 hotel rooms just a short drive from Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

“Create your memories right here,” says Eric Rebbert, interim executive director of Visit Harford.

Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood, New Jersey

Wildwoods Convention Center, Wildwood, NJ | Photo courtesy of Greater Wildwoods Tourism Authority
Wildwoods Convention Center, Wildwood, NJ | Photo courtesy of Greater Wildwoods Tourism Authority

Located on the world-famous boardwalk and overlooking the beach and ocean, Wildwoods Convention Center offers a modern, innovative, spacious, flexible and inviting venue for sports, conventions, trade shows, meetings, concerts and exhibits.

Since 2002, the 260,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility has hosted major events in youth sports including cheerleading, basketball, gymnastics, futsal, wrestling and others. Outdoor competitions, complemented by 3,000 bleacher seats, have included surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, Ultimate, baseball on the beach, track and field, volleyball, beach soccer, field hockey and lacrosse.

Within a day’s drive of one-third of the American population, Wildwoods Convention Center can accommodate 100 to 10,000 attendees. These visitors may choose between 8,000 hotel/motel rooms and 3,000 vacation rentals accommodating any need and budget.

“From our white-sand beaches to the iconic, 38-block boardwalk, visitors to Wildwoods Convention Center will discover the best of the Jersey Shore,” says Michele Mendelson, sales coordinator of the Wildwoods Convention Center.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City, NJ | Photo courtesy of Visit Atlantic City
Atlantic City, NJ | Photo courtesy of Visit Atlantic City

Atlantic City is the ideal sporting event destination, with state-of-the-art venues amidst family-friendly attractions, activities and entertainment.

The variety of first-class facilities include the LEED Gold-certified Atlantic City Convention Center, which houses 18 basketball courts, 27 volleyball courts and 12 futsal courts across a staggering 486,000 contiguous square feet.

Past major events and those on the horizon include the TEAMS Conference & Expo, IRONMAN 70.3, Red Bull Global Rallycross, USA Triathlon National Championships, USA Fencing Regionals, U.S. Futsal, Matchroom Pool’s US Open Pool Championship and Jimmy Johnson’s Atlantic City Quest for the Ring Championship Fishing Week.

Outside of competition, visitors enjoy 20 golf courses, Island Waterpark and the historic boardwalk spanning four miles of scenic beach. In addition, more than 175 restaurants and 18,000 hotel rooms fit every taste and budget.

“The Atlantic City Sports Commission is here to assist you with organizing world-class sporting events while showcasing our seaside destination,” says Daniel Gallagher, STS, director of sports sales at Atlantic City Sports Commission.

Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania

Lackawanna County, PA| Photo courtesy of Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau/Photo by Access Aerial
Lackawanna County, PA| Photo courtesy of Lackawanna County Visitors Bureau/Photo by Access Aerial

Year-round athletic opportunities thrive in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania.

A two-hour drive from New York City and Philadelphia, Lackawanna County boasts premier facilities providing 94 basketball courts, 42 baseball fields, 46 tennis courts, 41 softball fields and 39 Little League fields.

Perhaps the best known is PNC Field, which keeps the local baseball tradition alive as home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, a Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. The region has also hosted events as varied as the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Mountain Archery Fest, the Warrior Soccer Tour and the National Beard & Moustache Championships.

Family-friendly attractions and activities include the Houdini Museum, Montage Mountain Ski Resort & Waterpark, Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, cultural festivals and a self-guided walking tour of locations made famous in NBC’s “The Office.”

“It’s always the perfect time to visit Lackawanna County and see why we’re the sweet spot for sports,” says Curt Camoni, executive director of the Lackawanna County Convention & Visitors Bureau.


SportsNOVA | Photo courtesy of SportsNOVA
SportsNOVA | Photo courtesy of SportsNOVA

It’s “game on” for the new sports tourism partnership in the industry.

An alliance between Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties, SportsNOVA markets northern Virginia as one of the East Coast’s premier destinations for travel sports. The partnership offers a diverse mix of premium indoor and outdoor facilities, including universities, megasportsplexes, arenas and venues offering rectangles, diamonds, courts, ice sheets, pools and more.

Focusing on multi-sport and large, single-sport events, SportsNOVA partners provide comprehensive support services while working collaboratively with event planners as well as one another. Past competitions include the World Police & Fire Games, US Youth Soccer Eastern Regional, USA BMX National, AJGA Junior-Am and MYHockey tournaments.

“We serve as your one-stop liaison with sports facilities, hotels, attractions, restaurants, shopping centers, vendors and other tourism stakeholders in our region,” says Eric Kulczycky, national sales manager-sports marketing at Visit Fairfax.

The Bridge Sports Complex in Bridgeport, West Virginia

The Bridge Sports Complex in Bridgeport, WV | Photo courtesy of The Bridge Sports Complex
The Bridge Sports Complex in Bridgeport, WV | Photo courtesy of The Bridge Sports Complex

Open since 2021, the Bridge Sports Complex in Bridgeport, West Virginia is the region’s most exciting destination for sports and recreation.

The premier complex features 156,000 square feet of multi-purpose sports space, including a fieldhouse with six basketball/volleyball courts, a 25-meter competition pool and a 40-foot by 70-foot, configurable indoor turf arena marked for soccer, lacrosse and baseball.

An outdoor turf accommodates soccer, football and diamond sports. Other amenities include a play climb area, team and corporate meeting rooms, onsite concessions and a fitness center.

Located off I-79, the complex is easily accessible to numerous hotels, restaurants and shops ideal for breaks in competition. This year’s events include the Big Shots West Virginia May Madness Basketball Tournament, Cinco De Mayo Hoopfest and ACB Spring Swing baseball tournament.

“Greater Bridgeport is in transition to becoming a bustling destination,” says Droo Callahan, general manager of The Bridge Sports Complex. “We are extremely lucky to be part of the growth with this venue adding to the community.”

Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim, Pennsylvania

Spooky Nook Sports, Manheim, PA | Photo courtesy of Spooky Nook Sports
Spooky Nook Sports, Manheim, PA | Photo courtesy of Spooky Nook Sports

Located just outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Spooky Nook Sports is the largest indoor sports complex in North America, offering regulation courts and playing fields for more than a dozen sports under one roof.

Spanning 14 acres, the facility includes an 80,000 square-foot fitness center, conference center, hotel, restaurant, onsite catering team, climate-controlled dome and outdoor turf field. Events have included Penn State wrestling, AAU volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, archery, LIVE Period recruiting and numerous summer camps.

According to Mackenzie Bender, corporate director of marketing and sponsorships, the venue hosted a record-breaking 1.6 million visitors in 2023.

“Spooky Nook has facilities unlike any other. Even after 11 years of operations, you never get tired of the look on people’s faces when they walk in the building for the first time,” Bender says. “Not only is it a top-tier sports complex, but there’s something special about this community that makes people want to come back over and over again.” SDM


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