Sports Facilities

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From Coast to Coast, Ready to Host

1 Sep, 2020

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Where does your sport play out?  In a pool? On a court? On a field – or maybe even in the air? With the rapid growth of all travel sports, it’s likely you’ll be looking around for a new place to call home. And when you do, you’ll be looking for a place guaranteed to elevate the game.

The continued evolution of sports venues – updates to surfaces, construction methods, lighting, security and amenities – all plays into creating the best possible experience for athletes, making it possible for them to break records and bring home trophies. And in a new destination, a supportive and efficient staff makes it easier for event owners and rights holders to do their job and put on the best competition possible. 

What follows is a compilation of some of the best sports facilities in the nation, backed by some of the most conscientious destination professionals in the industry. Sit back, read on and prepare to be inspired. Your athletes certainly will be.

California: Placer Valley

Placer Valley Event Center

The much-anticipated Placer Valley Event Center opened February 13, creating new opportunities to attract major amateur sports competitions, large meetings, trade shows, concerts and other events to the region.

The Event Center, which can accommodate as many as 12 full-length basketball courts or 24 volleyball courts, is one of the largest-ever public-private partnerships in the Sacramento region. The $34 million project is a collaboration between Placer County and Placer Valley Tourism. 

The 160,000-square-foot building can transform to meet many needs, from organizers seeking a dozen basketball courts to those looking for a large performance venue – and everything in between. 

The Event Center includes a 10,000-square-foot lobby – complete with a bank of TV screens – and eight flexible meeting rooms. The state-of-the-art lighting and scoreboards hanging from the 35-foot high ceiling can be controlled with a tablet.

“It’s thoughtful and flexible,” said David Attaway, CEO of Placer Valley Tourism and @the Grounds. “Everything was designed specifically for the Event Center.”

The one-of-a-kind building has already become a huge selling point when marketing the region to event organizers.

“We can now aggressively compete with other communities and attract major events,” Attaway said. “It’s putting Placer Valley on the map for large events.”

Florida: Gainesville

Champions Park of Newberry

Located in North Central Florida, Champions Park of Newberry is one of the premier baseball and softball tournament complexes in the United States. Being centrally located in the state and in close proximity to surrounding states, the complex has been attracting more than 30,000 visitors annually for games and tournaments. 

The complex has 16 state-of-the-art fields with lights, artificial turf infields with grass outfields and 220-foot permanent fencing. It features an onsite air conditioned administration building, over 1,000 parking spaces, Musco Lighting, eight battling cage tunnels, scoreboards for each field and large open areas for pregame and batting practice. Each quad of fields has its own full service concessions and bathrooms. Tournaments played at Champions Park of Newberry experience fewer rainouts with state-of-the-art A-Turf infields. 

The Gainesville Sports Commission staff is here to help make every event experience exceptional by providing the perfect facility to be able to accommodate youth baseball and fast pitch softball. Contact the Gainesville Sports Commission at 352-338-9300, e-mail jcacciatore@gainesvillesportscommission.com or visit www.gainesvillesportscommission.com to train, pay and win like a champion.

Florida: Palm Beach County

The Gardens North County District Park

Palm Beach County is home to world-class playing and training facilities. The Gardens North County District Park is equipped with 10 Latitude 36 Bermuda Grass lighted multi-purpose fields, one agility field, three concession stands, one meeting room, a splash pad, a playground, a ninja fitness course and a fitness trail. 

It can accommodate sports such as archery, field hockey, lacrosse, rugby, soccer and croquet. Each multi-purpose field can fit a full-size FIFA field and be configured in a variety of ways to accommodate an array of field layouts. 

State-of-the-art LED sports lighting surrounds the multi-purpose fields, luscious hibiscus flowers line the playground area and colorful, anti-slip concrete has been laid in the splash pad. The park is adjacent to the award-winning Palm Beach Gardens Tennis & Pickleball Center which includes 20 Hydro-Grid clay courts, four hard courts and six pickleball courts with the ability to convert another six tennis courts into additional pickleball courts. 

Florida: Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach Sports Complex

Panama City Beach’s new $37 million dollar, 160-acre Sports Complex officially opened in October 2019 and is the premier destination for travel sports tourism in the Florida Panhandle and beyond. Setting Panama City Beach apart from other areas in the region, this state-of-the-art facility has allowed the destination to host a variety of new sports teams, including U.S. Youth Soccer, 

lacrosse and rugby. 

The Sports Complex has also been an enormous economic driver for Panama City Beach, especially during the destination’s shoulder season in the fall and spring months. In 2019 alone, 30,000 visitors traveled to the park with approximately $25 million dollars in economic impact. Hosting a total of 19 tourism events, five sports were represented, including fast-pitch softball, slow-pitch softball, soccer, flag football and baseball. 

Due to COVID-19, many complexes across the country were forced to close in 2020. However, the Panama City Beach Sports Complex has been fortunate to reopen, booking a number of additional events and tournaments that moved from other locations. Thus far in 2020, the Sports Complex has already hosted 19 events including baseball, fastpitch softball, football and local rugby. 

Florida: Sports Coast

Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County

The buzz is true. Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County is open for an unbeatable event. From basketball to soccer, volleyball to cheerleading, this 98,000-square-foot campus is now the premier destination for youth sports in the Southeastern United States.

The $26 million dollar sports campus can host 700-plus attendees big, making it perfect for national and regional tournaments of all kinds.

Whether you’re driving or flying, the Sports Campus is conveniently located near several major highways and is just a short drive from two international airports, only 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport and 90 minutes from Orlando International Airport.

While athletes are here, they’ll enjoy two 35,000 square-foot multi-purpose courts (boasting eight drop-down basketball hoops and 16 volleyball nets), a 5,000-square-foot indoor cheer zone (containing two competition cheer areas and a springboard floor), two full-size outdoor multi-purpose fields (perfect for soccer and lacrosse) and an onsite hotel coming in 2021.

The facility is also perfect for training events. From great sports training to an on-site sports therapy center, athletes can train today to become champions tomorrow.

To learn more, go to FLSportsCoast.com/Sports-Tourism

Kentucky: Corbin

Corbin Arena

Whether it is basketball, cheerleading, boxing or roller derby, Corbin, Kentucky, is THE place for indoor sports and sporting events. 

 Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, in Southeastern Kentucky, the City of Corbin is a sports lover’s dream. Conveniently located at exit 25, I-75, the city is within a one-and-a-half-hour drive of both Knoxville, Tennessee, and Lexington, Kentucky, and is situated within a 50-mile radius of over 500,000 people. The city offers a variety of outstanding attractions and activities for families to enjoy while in town for sporting events. 

Home to the Corbin Arena, the facility is a city-owned 100,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility. The Arena floor is 31,250 square feet, all concrete, and the dimensions are 125’ x 250’. There are 6,959 fixed seats, and several configurations are available including floor seating. The concourse is 19,261 square feet. The Arena also includes a 30’ X 60’ meeting room for coaches and players’ meetings, two full-service concession stands, free parking and other great amenities. The venue has been a longstanding host of the KHSAA 13th Region basketball and cheerleading tournaments, which fill the venue with thousands of fans. 

To learn more about the Corbin Arena, visit www.corbinkytourism.com 

Kentucky: London

Crossroads to Cycling Adventure

London, Kentucky is the Cycling Capital of Kentucky® known for its scenic road and rural terrain that is minutes from interstate I-75 in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Mountain biking enthusiasts will be stoked to ride on the Sheltowee Trace National Recreational Trail, winding around one of the cleanest lakes in Kentucky, Laurel River Lake. This trail is ranked #3 of 101 mountain bike trails in Kentucky and #302 in the world according www.singletracks.com. 

The casual hiker, through-backpacker or runner can easily access trails that connect to the 333 miles of the Sheltowee Trace National Recreational Trail. Vanhook Falls Trail a five-mile roundtrip hike, leads to a 40-foot tall waterfall. It has other water features and was named one of the “Best Kid-Friendly Hikes in Kentucky” by hikers on alltrails.com

Whether it’s by kayak, SUP or boat, 5,600 acres of Laurel River Lake is filled with quiet coves and cliff-lined shores and offers a beach maintained by the Corps of Engineers. It is an excellent location to spend a lazy afternoon after fishing for popular black bass, rainbow trout, walleye, crappie, bluegill and catfish. For a complete list of sporting venues, go to www.visitlondonky.com or email tourism@lltc.net. 

New Jersey: Wildwoods

Wildwoods Convention Center

The Wildwoods Convention Center, a modern 260,000-square-foot convention center, located right on the beach overlooking the ocean, hosts more than 160 events annually and is home to scores of signature events, conventions, meetings, youth sports tournaments, sporting conventions and expos, professional sporting events, and much more. 

The Convention Center is equipped with a 75,000-square-foot arena with 30-foot-high unobstructed ceilings (configurable into two 37,500-square-foot separate areas); 30,000 square feet of lobby and pre-function space; state-of-the-art sound/lighting systems; maximum capacity of 7,500 seats for shows and concerts – and amazing beach and ocean views from nearly every angle.

From meetings and conventions to consumer and trade shows, youth sporting tournaments, regional and national band, dance and cheerleading championships; to banquets, planners and attendees alike love the Wildwoods Convention Center. The Wildwoods Convention Center alone hosts over 160 events a year ranging from 100 to 10,000 participants.

With over 8,000 hotel/motel rooms and 3,000 vacation rentals available at attractive off-season rates, plenty of great restaurants, a nearly three-mile boardwalk with hundreds of eateries shops, rides and attractions, and more than 150 free island-wide events and festivals annually, the Wildwoods is the perfect location for hosting and attending any event, any time of year.

Ohio: Butler County

West Chester Baseball Complex

Butler County, Ohio is the Midwest’s premier destination for youth and amateur sports. Rights holders nationwide love the region for its best-in-class facilities, excellent local support and convenient access just minutes from I-75. Featuring venues like the First Watch Fields at the West Chester Baseball Complex, Butler County’s venues are ready and open for tournaments, championships and play.

The West Chester Baseball Complex is ideally built for baseball and softball tournaments. The facility includes four tournament quality fields, full infield artificial turf on two fields, turf batter’s box and pitcher’s mound on all fields, press box viewing from all fields, restrooms, concessions, umpire room and storage. The complex is also within five minutes of hotels, restaurants, attractions, shopping and interstate access, making it an ideal location for athletes, spectators, coaches and support crew.

Now is the time to play in Butler County, Ohio. Let the experienced team at the Butler County Visitors Bureau elevate any game. Get started at TravelButlerCounty.com/sports.

South Carolina: Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach Sports Center

The Myrtle Beach Sports Center is celebrating its five-year anniversary in 2020. Over those five years, this state-of-the-art, 100,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility has hosted hundreds of sports events from volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, archery, pickleball, handball and cheer, to name just a few.

Additionally, the Sports Center has become a community gathering spot, hosting city council meetings, parks and recreation programming and home shows.

The facility features a layout that can host 16 volleyball or eight basketball courts on 72,000 square feet of column-free, hardwood playing surface space. Additional amenities include seven multi-purpose team rooms, telescopic bleachers, an elevated viewing area and a café with both indoor and outdoor seating.

Already known for their industry-leading customer service, the MBSC has put in place enhanced protocols and cleaning to safely host events in the COVID-19 era. Those include cashless ticketing and concessions, social distancing layouts for all sports, multiple hand sanitizer stations and increased building cleaning and sanitation.

Tennessee: Columbia

Ridley Park Sports Complex 

After the recent completion of an impressive $7 million expansion, Ridley Park Sports Complex is a modern, multi-purpose sports facility featuring 10 softball fields and nine rectangular fields perfect for tournament play, including soccer, Ultimate, football, lacrosse, rugby, softball and baseball. 

Most notable among the events happening at Ridley is the annual Midstate Classic Softball Tournament that takes place in the spring. Some 3,000 spectators make their way to Ridley for an opportunity to see this collegiate girls’ softball doubleheader hosted each year by the City of Columbia and the host softball team University of Tennessee Lady Vols.

Specs for Ridley Park Sports Complex include:

  • 10 softball fields – includes one championship field
  • Nine rectangular fields for soccer, football, lacrosse and rugby (60 yards x 120 yards), includes one championship field with built-in bleachers, a press box, combination goal/goalpost and an underdrain irrigation system to reduce the effects of inclement weather. 
  • Four concession stands 
  • Parking for over 1,000 vehicles 
  • All-LED lit complex
  • Tifway 419 Bermuda grass on softball fields 
  • Latitude 36 Bermuda grass on soccer fields
  • Great location: on the outskirts of Columbia, less than 50 miles south of Nashville, Tennessee, and 75 miles north of Huntsville, Alabama
  • Columbia has more than 800 hotel rooms.

Texas: Frisco

Sports City, USA

Frisco, Texas, is Sports City, USA. Home to multiple professional sports teams, national and international athletic organizations, world-class facilities, prestigious sports medicine and rehabilitation centers and an emerging esports community, Frisco is the ultimate sports destination. 

Frisco is centrally located, 30 minutes north of downtown Dallas and 25 minutes from both Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Love Field Airport. 

The city features several professional sports teams, organizations and facilities, including the Dallas Cowboys at The Star, FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium, the Frisco RoughRiders at Dr Pepper Ballpark, Dallas Stars and Texas Legends at Comerica Center, as well as the future home of PGA of America. 

Along with these venues, Frisco features more than nine million square feet of retail, over 400 restaurants, and a growing museum district that includes the Museum of the American Railroad, the National Videogame Museum and the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

Texas: McKinney 

The Courts

In need of the perfect venue for tennis and pickleball tournaments? Look no further than the award-winning tennis facility, The Courts, located in McKinney, Texas, a quickly growing suburb just 30 miles north of Dallas. Owned by the City of McKinney and managed by Lifetime Tennis, the greatly-anticipated facility opened in 2012. Later that year, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) awarded it “U.S. Tennis Facility of the Year” among both public facilities and private clubs. 

Then, in December 2013, the USTA named The Courts the “Tennis Organization of the Year in Texas.” During the fall of 2019, the 11-court facility opened 12 more new outdoor courts – a $9 million project – that will be followed over the next two years by another expansion partially funded by a grant from Texas Parks & Wildlife. 

This new project involves the construction of six indoor courts, making The Courts a rain-or-shine facility and enabling it to host larger regional and national tournaments. Facility staff will also be able to divide the indoor courts into smaller court areas for pickleball games and tournaments. For more information about rental of The Courts facility, contact Visit McKinney at 888-648-8499, info@visitmckinney.com or www.visitmckinney.com/356/Welcome-Tennis-Fans

Texas: Round Rock 

Round Rock Multipurpose Complex

Round Rock carries the title of Sports Capital of Texas, and the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex has boosted the city’s athletic reputation even more. The Round Rock Multipurpose Complex offers 10 versatile outdoor fields on 60 acres of open space to accommodate all varieties of sports lovers.

Players love the new landmark facility that provides configurations for every outdoor sport, including rugby, football, soccer, Ultimate and more. Located in Old Settlers Park, the complex offers 10 fields: four natural grass multi-purpose fields, one natural grass championship field, four synthetic turf multi-purpose fields and one synthetic turf championship field.

Spectators appreciate official Musco Sports Lighting on all 10 fields at night, permanent seating with shade structures during the day and over 900 parking spaces for convenient access. The Round Rock Multipurpose Complex also provides an all-star view from the clubhouse, with meeting rooms overlooking the fields.

Every player, fan and family will find something to love at the new Round Rock Multipurpose Complex. Additional amenities include playgrounds, plazas, pavilions and more.

Texas: Round Rock

Round Rock Sports Center

Round Rock Sports Center has hosted numerous events including basketball, volleyball, wrestling and table tennis tournaments. To say this space is in high demand is an understatement. The facility boasts 82,800 square feet of indoor space with 47,775 square feet of flexible, open and playable space. Several configurations are available, including six high school basketball courts, 12 high school volleyball courts, three NCAA basketball courts and four badminton and pickleball courts. In addition to the many indoor features, Round Rock Sports Center has a beautiful outdoor pavilion and plaza. The covered pavilion features a multi-sport turf surface, a playground, a concession area and restroom facilities. The open-air plaza has a children’s play area available for family, friends and event participants.

After the big game, athletes can rest their heads and and have some water fun at the new Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Round Rock. Opening November 12, 2020, the one and a half-million-square-foot resort will have nearly 1,000 guest rooms, a 223,000-square-foot indoor waterpark (America’s largest), an 80,000-square-foot adventure park, four restaurants and much more.

More information is available at the website, GoRoundRock.com or by contacting Nancy Yawn at Nancy Yawn at 512-218-7094, or nyawn@roundrocktexas.gov7094.

Virginia: Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach Sports Center

Crossing the finish line in fall 2020, the new, state-of-the-art Virginia Beach Sports Center will host a diverse roster of sporting events and tournaments when it opens in November. The venue has 285,000 square feet of space, with 12 basketball courts, 24 volleyball courts, a 200 meter, hydraulically banked track, seating for 5,000 spectators and more.

The Sports Center is located across the street from the Virginia Beach Convention Center, featuring a 150,000-square-foot column-free exhibit hall, and is just steps away from local shops, restaurants and attractions, including the beautiful boardwalk and beaches of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

 Event owners will find they have the support of the best team in the business with the track record to prove it, ready to take their game to the next level. 

 Interested in learning more? Visit vbsports.com or contact Dani Timm 

at dtimm@visitvirginiabeach.com or 757-373-6804 to schedule a virtual tour. SDM

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