Finding that perfect spot for your event, the one with a combination of great surroundings, affordability, the right venues and friendly people, is something all event owners crave. And let’s face it: the search for a place to put down roots has been around since people crossed the plains in covered wagons. For rights holders and event owners, the search doesn’t involve wagon trains, and includes more guidance than stars and a map. In fact, Sports Destination Management is pleased to provide some assistance in your quest, by showcasing some cities that might not yet be on your radar, but should be. So take a few minutes to acquaint yourself with some of these undiscovered gems. You might just find your search ends here.
Arizona: Glendale and the West Valley
Glendale and Arizona’s West Valley are affordable, luxurious and inspirational – a destination poised to impress. Scores of venues await attendees, along with thousands of square feet of meeting space, rides, slides and scenery.
Sports are always in season, from spectacular catches in the end zone at the University of Phoenix Stadium to diving saves in the outfield at Camelback Ranch-Glendale and the West Valley’s baseball fields that also play host to the Cactus League Spring Training, to the nail-biting net play between tennis legends, to the sweet sounds of March Madness. When it comes to sports, nobody does it better than Glendale.
Visit Glendale promotes all of Arizona’s West Valley’s 14 cities, giving planners lots of options. When it’s time for R&R, there are nearly 8,000 stylish and spacious hotel rooms with major brands and multiple restaurants all in Arizona’s West Valley within a 15-mile radius, and even more guest rooms come on board in time for 2017 Cactus League Spring Training.
Glendale and Arizona’s West Valley offer opportunity surrounded by breathtaking views and horizons, with a deep-seated commitment to hospitality. Convenient and accessible, Arizona’s West Valley is, without question, a little bit of everything. Visit www.visitglendale.com to learn more.
Boise, Idaho, is vibrant. First-time visitors often comment on Boise’s vibrancy, its vitality and its energy. With an active arts community and lively downtown filled with shops, restaurants, night spots and yes, people, Boise is alive with entertainment options.
Boise is active. When in Boise, do as the locals do: get outside. The city’s mild, four-season climate and easy access to mountains, rivers, lakes and a variety of sports venues make it a haven for those looking to explore beyond the city.
Boise is unforgettable. Memories are made in moments: in the cheer of a crowd, in the thrill of experiencing something new, in discovering something unexpected. That’s what makes Boise, with some many different events, sports and other exhilarating experiences, so extraordinary.
Boise’s a great place, and here is just a sample of what others have said about Boise in the past few years:
- Best Towns: #1 Overall Town in Western U.S. – Outside Magazine
- Top Five Healthiest Cities – Men’s Health and Women’s Health
- #1 Adventure City – National Geographic Adventure
- #1 Mountain Biking Town – Bike Magazine
- Top 20 Towns of the Future – Sunset
For more information, visit www.boise.org.
Located at the junction of three interstates, Bloomington-Normal is right in the heart of Illinois between Chicago and St. Louis. Its Amtrak station and regional airport make it easily accessible. The area offers a key location, first-class facilities and big city excitement mixed with small town rural charm. With state-of-the-art, adaptable facilities, over 3,000 hotel rooms and 200 dining options, the area is ready for every sport, no matter the season.
Some of the facilities Bloomington-Normal has to offer include:
The U.S. Cellular Coliseum, a first-class community entertainment center with more than 18,000 square feet of space and seating for 8,000
Champion Fields, with 10 lighted softball fields and seating for 2,300
- The Corn Crib, a multi-purpose stadium able to host 7,000
- Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena, with a capacity of 10,200
- The Shirk Center at Illinois Wesleyan University, an athletic and recreation complex with seating for 2,400
- The Den at Fox Creek, an Arnold Palmer signature-designed golf course
- The Bloomington Tennis Center, a brand-new facility that features six indoor regulation-size courts.
From the initial planning stages to site selection and post-event follow-up, the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Sports Commission are ready to assist planners and to help ensure any event’s success. More information is available at www.visitbn.org/sports.
New Jersey: Atlantic City
Atlantic City is a gem along the New Jersey shoreline, offering a historic beach and boardwalk. Atlantic City is centrally located within a few hours’ drive of nearly one third of the nation’s population. Its sports footprint displays a record number of hosting events on a regional and national scale.
Some of the facilities Atlantic City offers include:
Historic Boardwalk Hall, formerly known as Atlantic City Convention Hall, is Atlantic City’s first convention center, built in 1929. Boardwalk Hall has hosted an amazing list of dazzling entertainers and knockout sporting events throughout its 85-year history
- Bader Field, a 142-acre site that is surrounded on three sides by water and is considered one of the most valuable pieces of open land on the East Coast
- Atlantic City’s historic beach and Boardwalk offer event planners a plethora of options for their event
- The Atlantic City Convention Center contains 500,000 square feet of space with 30-foot ceilings, which attracts a variety of sporting events.
With more than 16,000 hotel rooms, incredible tax-free shopping, brand-name eateries to celebrity chef restaurants and the support of the Atlantic City Sports Commission, Atlantic City is a unique destination for sports of any kind. More information is available at atlanticcitysports.org.
New York: Albany
Albany is home to New York State government, multiple colleges and a series of top-tier venues, and come March 2017, it will be home to the Albany Capital Center (ACC).
Enclosed climate-controlled walkways connect the ACC with the Empire State Plaza, the Egg Performing Arts Center and the Times Union Center, creating the Capital Complex. This state-of-the-art convention center is a premier multi-purpose destination drawing world-class music and sporting events, for which access to top-notch amenities, entertainment and dining are imperative.
This March, the ACC will welcome the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) basketball tournament with events and fan fests.
New York City, Boston and Montreal are three hours away by car. Adirondack lakes and mountains, perfect for competitive outdoor sports like road races, triathlons and skiing, are within easy driving distance.
With nearly 100 restaurants and five hotels, Albany is pedestrian-friendly. The ACC is just minutes from Albany International Airport, Rensselaer Train Station, Port of Albany, Capital District Transportation Authority and the Greyhound Bus Station. The tri-city area (Albany, Schenectady and Troy) combined have more than 6,750 hotel rooms, 1,400 restaurants and a casino. More information is available at www.albanycapitalcenter.com.
Ohio: Lake Erie Shores & Islands
At Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores & Islands, everyone comes to play. With the addition of the all-new Sports Force Parks at Cedar Point Sports Center, athletes and their families will discover this region is ideal for sports and fun.
Less than an hour’s drive from both Cleveland and Toledo, Lake Erie Shores & Islands has more than 8,000 sleeping rooms and over 615,000 square feet of event space. There are numerous entertainment options, including Cedar Point, the Lake Erie islands and five indoor waterpark resorts.
Here, gymnastics, dance, cheer, bowling and billiard competitions are hosted year-round; while baseball, lacrosse, volleyball and soccer utilize seasonal outdoor green spaces. Lake Erie provides a natural venue for fishing tournaments, sailing regattas and more, while the lakefront offers an ideal backdrop for running and obstacle races.
Lake Erie Shores & Islands CVB supports events with assistance in the bid processes, promotional grants, support staff and local official and sponsor introductions. Aaron B. Del Mar, of Adrenaline Sports Management agrees, “Lake Erie Shores & Islands CVB has been instrumental in the development and success of the Santa Hustle race series…the CVB has worked with us step-by-step to help our event flourish.”
More information is available at SHORESandISLANDS.com.
Washington: Wenatchee Valley
Like most quality sports destination markets, the Wenatchee Valley has an abundance of terrific facilities to handle tournaments and events. But the staff has noticed a growing trend: compliments about all there is to do in the area when participants or their families have some ‘downtime’ at their event.
For starters, Wenatchee Valley is on the sunny side of Washington State, so sunshine and great weather are the norm. Visitors can take advantage of the majestic Columbia River (see photo), which flows right through the towns. There’s the Apple Capital Loop Trail, paved for walking or cycling, which follows the shoreline of the Columbia for over 15 miles – as well as dozens of miles of trails in the foothills, creating excellent hiking and mountain biking opportunities.
The Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort is only 20 minutes from town. The area’s award-winning wine country features over 75 wineries or tasting rooms within a one-hour drive of Wenatchee. Paddle boarding, whitewater rafting, fishing, golf….the options are endless. In the Wenatchee Valley, it’s more than a tournament. It’s an experience teams will remember. Visit wenatcheevalleysports.com.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin Dells
Wisconsin Dells earned its waterpark capital credentials thanks to having the largest concentration of indoor and outdoor waterpark resorts in the nation. Although these waterparks are the biggest amenity of all, visitors can also entertain themselves at indoor and outdoor amusement parks, live shows and historic attractions, as well as on tours of the Wisconsin River.
As for sports facilities, there’s Woodside Sport’s 90,000-square-foot Wisconsin Dells Center, a high-tech permanent bubble dome that accommodates basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer, wrestling and even a football field worth of NFL artificial turf. Their second campus in nearby Mauston is a sprawling multi-sport facility with eight fully synthetic turf fields for baseball and softball. The third campus calls itself home to six soccer fields and four baseball fields, again all synthetic turf.
There’s also the 53,000-square-foot JustAgame Fieldhouse which can accommodate 10 volleyball courts, six high school basketball courts or four high school courts and one college court. The Poppy Waterman Ice Arena has an official NHL-size sheet of ice with bleacher seating for 500 for hockey tournaments and figure skating competitions. Not to be overlooked are competitions for dance, cheerleading, martial arts, fencing, weightlifting, cross-country, lacrosse and bowling. More information is available at www.WisDells.com.