Over the years, Cedar Point has thrilled visitors and has become known as “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” And in December 2019, the entertainment leader unveiled a major attraction of a different sort with the launch of the state-of-the-art Cedar Point Sports Center.
The $30 million-plus indoor complex, set to be the anchor to Cedar Point amusement park, totals more than 200,000 square feet and is located on Cleveland Road (U.S. 6) in Sandusky, Ohio. It is situated adjacent to its sister outdoor site, Sports Force Parks at Cedar Point Sports Center, which was completed in 2017 and is separately operated. With this new addition, Cedar Point is making a strong play to become a premier, year-round sports destination. The effort is intended to entice more teams and athletes, along with their families and supporters, to the area, thus turning the destination into a regional and national contender in the rapidly growing sports tourism market.
The indoor Cedar Point Sports Center is a sports event planner’s dream. It boasts hardwood floors that can convert from 10 NBA regulation-size basketball courts, 20 regulation-size volleyball courts or a gymnastics arena. A “Championship Arena” provides retractable seating for fans, and a grand lobby including multiple mezzanine areas will give renters event space for community functions. The facility also boasts an abundance of recreational assets, including a one-eighth-mile indoor track, climbing walls, a Ninja Warrior-style course, and an arcade.
The facility also features the Lee C. Jewett Sports Medicine Center, a sports medicine and orthopedic facility funded and operated by Firelands Regional Medical Center. To sweeten the deal, every athlete that competes at Cedar Point Sports Center receives a free length of stay ticket to Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores Waterpark, and family and friends will receive access to discounted tickets to the park.
“We will draw about 100 to 150 teams for volleyball, basketball and dance/cheer, and between 3,000 to 5,000 spectators per event,” says Jessica Kuhl, Account Executive for Sports Facilities Management. “This is projected to total more than $12 million in economic impact in 2019-2020.”
Cedar Fair, Cedar Point’s parent company, owns the land upon which the new Cedar Point Sports Center sits, and oversees building-related operations. Sports Facilities Management (SFM) provides sports facility management systems and services including scheduling games, booking teams and marketing the site. Their efforts help smooth the planning and organizational process for local, regional and national sports event planners. SFM Network associated venues host more than 28 million visitors each year.
“The partnership and support from our client, Cedar Point, has been tremendous and instrumental in the success of the pre-opening phases of this state-of-the-art facility,” says Jason Clement, CEO of SFM. “Not only will Cedar Point Sports Center be able to provide national event owners a place for tournaments and events, we’ll be able to provide a local and regional community a facility for use year-round.”
Together, the two venues will give this destination the ability to host large tournaments for a wide variety of youth and amateur sports. There are also opportunities for local teams, such as high school varsity squads, to practice and play at the facilities. Cedar Point Sports Center held its first event, a basketball tournament, over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in January 2020.
Cedar Point officials, who are even more enthusiastic about the prospects for the new venue, expect the new Cedar Point Sports Center to generate $20 million annually in income through tourists spending at area hotels, restaurants, stores, attractions and more. The facility should also initially create $700,000 each year in new tax revenues going toward local school districts, governments and other public services.
And the good news doesn’t end there. The third phase of Cedar Point’s growing sports complex is planning to feature a waterfront development to showcase the picturesque views and activate the area. Plans call for the open land behind Cedar Point Sports Center to be transformed to a waterfront experience that will include biking and walking trails, scenic spaces to relax, and unparalleled views of Lake Erie and Cedar Point in the distance.
Speaking of fun and relaxation, Erie County has plenty of recreation options off the courts, fields and diamonds for families and visitors. Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands feature everything from relaxing island hopping, bird watching, hiking and boating to thrilling amusement parks. Cedar Point Amusement Park is home to 18 world-class roller coasters including the signature Millennium Force giga-coaster; the 120 mph Top Thrill Dragster; and Steel Vengeance, billed as the tallest, fastest and longest hyper-hybrid roller coaster in the world. Cedar Point Shores Waterpark has attractions for thrill-lovers and children alike, plus plenty of shopping, dining and accommodation options.
With a variety of amenities, it’s clear that Cedar Point lives up to its promise of being all about sports, events and entertainment. The destination stands ready to support sports planners from near and far by leveraging a wealth of local assets to help create winning events for athletes of all ages and ability levels.
“Cedar Point Sports Center is now one of the premier sports facilities in the Midwest,” says Jessica Kuhl, Account Executive for Sports Facilities Management. “The local community and nation are welcoming this year-round facility to host sports, events and entertainment.” SDM