Pacific: So Much More than Hollywood
29 Apr, 2011By: Amy Henderson
930,727 square miles
Yes, according to Wikipedia, five states make up the Pacific Region of the United States: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, encompassing a huge land mass and ample opportunity for any type of sporting event.
Within these five states are a number of NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball teams as well as minor league and collegiate teams. With those entities come professional stadiums and arenas including Staples Center and Honda Center in Los Angeles; the Rose Garden in Portland, Key Arena and Safeco Field in Seattle, and HP Pavilion at San Jose.
Venues of that caliber and size not only act as home turf for the pro teams, but also offer fantastic choices for other sporting events during the shoulder season.
The NBA recently hosted the 2011 NBA All Star Game at the Staples Center in February. Quint Events, a full service hospitality and event company, partnered with the NBA to provide exclusive experiences to 325 clients.
"This was our first year with the NBA," said Brian Learst, CEO of Quint Events. "We had a mix of clients, we had a huge international group, 20% were from all over the globe like Australia, Japan, France, Spain and Barbados. The feedback was great and very positive."
Forget Brad and Angelina. This area's most attractive couples are Pristine Facilities and Ideal Climate. The pairing is idyllic for any event - literally under the sun.
"We have wonderful weather," explained Steve Schell, Vice President of the San Diego Sports Commission. "You just can't go wrong with our weather. Our average temperature is 72 degrees and it makes it worthwhile to do an outdoor event and not have any weather challenges."
"The destination is pretty big," Schell continued. "There is a lot of territory to do a lot of events."
San Diego and Mammoth hosted the 4th Annual Ultimate Boarder Championship in April. This up-and-coming event, also hailed as "the triathlon of a new generation," has gained both popularity and recognition in the corporate community and media. The competition encompasses surfing and skating in San Diego and snowboarding in Mammoth. Approximately 120 athletes compete, and the event attracts up to 4,000 spectators.
"LA and surrounding areas already have a lot of events," said Tim Hoover, President of the Ultimate Boarder Championships. "I thought it would be great to have this one, the only event of its kind in the world, in San Diego."
The 2011 NCAA Men's Golf Regional and IronKids both take place in May. The NCAA Regionals take place at The Farms in Rancho Santa Fe featuring the area's top collegiate golfers. IronKids will be held at Mission Bay Park on May 22 with 300-400 participants. The event has seen more than 40,000 participants in its history since 1985.
Oceanside, California also benefits from Mother Nature. "We are popular for triathlons," said Leslee Gaul, CEO and President of Visit Oceanside Conference & Visitors Bureau. "Our outdoor lifestyle and year-round temperature and climate are perfect to be outside all the time and great for sports."
According to Gaul, Oceanside is a classic beach community known for some of the best and most consistent surf, which explains why the Annual Body Surfing Championships is held adjacent to the Oceanside Pier each year. The 2011 competition, to be held in August, marks its 34th year.
In addition to the Body Surfing Championship, Oceanside hosted Ironman California in March and the 5th Annual Beach Soccer Championships this month with over 300 teams expected from the United States, Senegal, Brazil, Portugal and Japan.
Newport Beach not only capitalizes on its natural resources but also on its manmade ones. "We host the largest annual international boat race, the Newport to Empanada," said Tom Bennett, Senior Vice President of Sales, Visit Newport Beach, Inc. "We also have the largest recreational boat harbor on the West Coast with approximately 10,000 boats.
Up north, the Oregon Sports Authority takes full advantage of its versatile topography and weather. "We've got a big state and diverse landscapes," explains Meyer Freeman, CEO of the Oregon Sports Authority. "It's an opportunity for all sports. For example, we've got the Nellscott Reef Big Wave Classic along the Oregon coast to the Pendleton Roundup, one of the most popular rodeo events in the country. These two prime examples of different events can only happen in Oregon."
Next door in Mt. Vernon, Washington, the climate defies the stereotype of the rainy Pacific Northwest and provides a great destination for soccer and baseball tournaments.
"We are the hidden gem of the north county," said Karen Mills of the Mt. Vernon Chamber of Commerce. "Our average rainfall is 32 inches and our average temperatures are in the 70s which supports year round outdoor activity."
Skagit River Park offers 22 soccer fields and 8 baseball diamonds for tournament play and hosts the Skagit River Cup in May.
Oregon Sports Authority was named 2010 Member of the Year by the National Association of Sports Commissions.
"It's been a good period for us," said Freeman. "The recognition was a nice achievement. We have a strong culture of sports and recreation in Oregon and our brand as a state is built on sports and recreation."
During 2010, Portland was named home of an expansion franchise, the Portland Timber, for Major League Soccer. The Timber made its debut at the JeldWen field in April. "There is seating for 18,000. It's really intimate and intimidating for opposing teams in the MLS," said Freeman.
This year is proving to be another successful one. The University of Oregon's Matthew Knight Arena hosted the Nike Clash of Champions featuring tennis greats Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka in March. The Dew Tour announced its return to compete in Portland in August for the seventh year. Several running and multi-discipline competitions are slated as well including: Iron Girl Portland Triathlon in June, Revolution3 Portland Triathlon in July, Oregon Wine Country Triathlon in September and the Portland Marathon in October.
The Oregon Sports Authority and San Diego Sports Commission aren't the only games in town. The Sacramento Sports Commission was founded in 1998 to develop amateur, professional and major sports events in the state's capital and holds bragging rights to the Amgen Tour of California since 2007.
The LA Sports & Entertainment Commission evolved in 1995 to retain major sporting and entertainment events to impact the economy and have fulfilled their goal over the last 16 years with events like the 2011 NBA All Star Game and the BCS National Championship Game.
The Pacific Region not only has a variety of indoor and outdoor venues in an ideal climate, but also scores a trifecta with its attractions and amenities.
Learst credits several factors for the success of the All-Star game for his clients, "What made LA great is that you have LA Live, the Staples Center and two great hotels all right there in the same complex. For the fans, it was easy because they could walk to all the events."
San Diego boasts the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World and LEGOLAND. Oceanside boasts some of the wider and sandier beaches in the area. "We are fortunate that we can have event access to the beach. The accessibility and infrastructure we have works," said Gaul.
Mt. Hood in Oregon is the only destination you can ski year round. The resort hosts ski and snowboarding camps and clinics throughout the year as well as the 5th Annual Sno-Kona Pond Skim where skiers and boarders ‘skim' across a water filled pond for a chance to win a trip to Hawaii.
If you're looking for perfect weather, fantastic venues, awesome attractions and diversity, then the Pacific Region is a must for you.