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Go West: These Cities are Ready to Play

9 Sep, 2013

By: Mike May

Sunny skies, top-notch facilities and welcoming communities. Sounds like a winning hand for any sports event planner seeking a destination. The Southwest and Pacific regions of the United States have all that, plus professionals with the attitude, aptitude and expertise to inspire return visits.

Morgan Hill, California

The Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center has put Morgan Hill on the sports map. This 38-acre facility features nine grass fields plus two lighted turf fields which are used for soccer, lacrosse, tackle football, flag football, rugby, field hockey and Ultimate Frisbee. The MHOSC is also adjacent to a world-class aquatics center.

“Under the management of Morgan Hill Youth Sports Association, the Outdoor Sports Center has become a world-class facility,” said Jeff Dixon, president of the Morgan Hill Youth Sports Association. “We are truly a one-stop shop for every tournament organizer providing everything from event management to dinner reservations.”

Endurance athletes also visit the Morgan Hill area for the Wildflower 5K and the Morgan Hill Triathlon.

San Mateo, California

The San Mateo County Event Center features two facilities: the Expo Hall (100,000+ square feet) and the Fiesta Hall (32,000+ square feet). Volleyball, boxing, gymnastics and dance events are frequently held .

San Mateo County is also home to 50,000-seat Stanford Stadium which hosts varsity football, soccer and rugby for Stanford University.

The Cow Palace in Daly City, an indoor facility, has more than 10,000 seats and 30,000 square feet of floor space. It hosts cheer, gymnastics and dance events. The facility is also home of the San Francisco Bulls Pro Hockey Club and the Grand National Rodeo.

“San Mateo County/Silicon Valley is the ideal venue for sporting events,” said Anne LeClair, president/CEO, San Mateo County/Silicon Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Our year-round mild climate and numerous outdoor and indoor athletic facilities make our area a natural for nearly every sport.”

Lane County, Oregon

Any discussion about sports in Lane County (Eugene) would be incomplete if it didn’t include track and field. Eugene’s Hayward Field has hosted the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials. That event is returning to Hayward Field in 2016. In 2014, the IAAF World Junior Track & Field Championships will be held at Hayward Field.

“We have one of the most diverse sports destinations in the West when you consider the natural landscapes and built infrastructure that allow us to hold sports of all kinds, from mountain biking races and triathlons to youth baseball and world-class track and field events,” says Janis Ross, executive director, Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission.

While the crown jewel of Lane County is Hayward Field, track and field is not the only game in town. PK Park, with seating for 3,600 baseball fans, is the home of the University of Oregon and the Class A Eugene Emeralds. Two other baseball facilities are the Willamette Valley Babe Ruth Complex and the Swede Johnson Stadium, a youth baseball facility.

The Triathlon Eugene and the Rolf Prima Tri at the Grove are contested locally. Meanwhile, Lowell’s Dexter Lake recently hosted the 2012 Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Championships.

Washington County, Oregon

The Gordon Faber Recreation Complex is a multi-venue sports complex in Hillsboro sprawling across more than 90 acres.

“With the recent $15 million addition of a baseball/all-purpose stadium, the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex is now among the finest sports complexes in the area offering a great variety of first-class venues for baseball, football, softball, soccer, lacrosse and other sports and events,” said Drew Mahalic, CEO, Oregon Sports Authority. “The great diversity and size of the complex allows for multiple large-scale events hosted simultaneously, augmenting the entertainment options for the community as well as positively impacting the local economy.” 

The Gordon Faber Recreation Complex includes Hillsboro Ballpark, Hillsboro Stadium and the Softball Complex.

The Hillsboro Ballpark is used for minor league baseball, football, soccer and lacrosse. The playing surface at Hillsboro Ballpark is Matrix Turf. The facility features a 700 square-foot scoreboard and seating for 4,500.

Hillsboro Stadium, which seats 7,000 fans, has a playing surface of FieldTurf. The stadium hosts football, softball, soccer, lacrosse and baseball.  The Softball Complex has six lighted grass fields, each with its own electronic scoreboard. There is a covered pavilion on the premises for hospitality and free wi-fi is available.

Beaumont, Texas

The sheer number of outdoor sports facilities in Beaumont is equaled only by the flexibility of the area’s indoor space, and the ability of both to accommodate just about any game athletes want to bring.

The major sports facilities are the Beaumont Athletic Complex and the Ford Park Event Center. The Beaumont Athletic Complex has 12 softball diamonds, 16 lighted tennis courts, four lighted sand volleyball courts, two soccer fields, two lighted/covered basketball courts and a 1.25-mile pedestrian trail. The Ford Park Event Center has 12 fields ready to host fast-pitch softball and youth baseball. Each field has hard-covered stands and all-weather infields.

Ford Exhibit Hall has 48,000 square feet of exhibit space and is attached to the Ford Arena, offering a combined 83,000 square feet of space. Ford Midway features nine acres of paved festival ground, including a 45,000-square-foot practice arena and 25,000 square feet of space suitable for rodeos and extreme sports events. The Ford Pavilion, ideal for cheerleading events, has 6,200 seats and lawn seating for an additional 12,000.

Lubbock, Texas

“Lubbock is the ideal location to host sporting events in every category,” said Scott Harrison, sports director, Lubbock Sports.

For those who want to take their game outside, the ball fields of Lubbock offer excellent possibilities. The Lubbock Youth Sports Complex has 16 diamonds -- 12 for softball and four for baseball. This facility has plenty of parking and lighting on the fields. Lubbock’s baseball facilities also include Texas Tech’s Dan Law Field and Lubbock Christian University’s Hays Field.

Basketball is another staple in Lubbock. Venues include many high school gyms, Lubbock Christian University’s Rip Griffin Center and Texas Tech’s United Spirit Arena. Practice courts, modern locker rooms and hospitality rooms at almost every gym can add to the appeal of an event.

Round Rock, Texas

Round Rock is the self-proclaimed Sports Capital of Texas and it backs up that claim with a host of facilities serving a variety of athletes.

Round Rock’s golf courses include Forest Creek, Teravista, White Wing and Legacy Hills. Old Settler’s Park is the focal point of sports in Round Rock. This park contains an 18-hole golf course, seven playgrounds, seven soccer fields, a 12-court tennis complex, two sand volleyball courts, 3.3 miles of paved trails, fields for baseball, football and Ultimate Frisbee and the Rock ‘N River Family Aquatic Center.

A special section of Old Settlers Park is Champion Fields, which features 20 baseball fields, five softball fields, 18 lighted batting cages, five covered playgrounds and plenty of team warm-up areas.

Other facilities in Round Rock include the Dell Diamond, the home of the Round Rock Express, a minor league baseball team. The Clay Madsen Recreation Center features a lap pool, four racquetball courts, a cardio/weight room and two gymnasiums. In addition, skateboarders and inline skaters can take advantage of Round Rock Skate Park.

Snohomish County, Washington

Located north of Seattle, Snohomish County hosts baseball, ice hockey, fast-pitch softball, soccer and lacrosse. This area also has more than 20 gymnasiums, 18 golf courses and hosts endurance events.

“Our mild climate, cooperative spirit, international proximity and national interest in the Pacific Northwest are some of the reasons why Snohomish County is an appealing sports destination,” said Tammy Dunn, sports marketing manager, Snohomish County Sports Commission.

The Comcast Arena in Everett has an NHL-sized ice rink. The main arena seats 300 and there is additionally a community ice rink with seating for 250. Comcast Arena is the home of the Western Hockey League Everett Silvertips and also hosts figure skating, gymnastics, basketball, wrestling, volleyball, endurocross, rodeos and box lacrosse.

Kasch Park, an outdoor multi-purpose sports complex in Everett, has four softball fields, two baseball fields and three adult all-weather turf fields. All fields are lighted. Sports played at Kasch Park include softball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and Ultimate Frisbee.

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