Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater, located in Albertville, Alabama, represents the newest evolution in sports travel destinations, hosting events from across the nation in a state-of-the-art venue. The 130-acre complex, built with competitive sports in mind, blends elite-level athletic facilities with family-friendly public play spaces and live entertainment. With everything from racquet sports facilities to diamond and long fields, an aquatic center, indoor and outdoor basketball courts and more, sports operate year-round.
In 2021 the park hosted 75-plus events that generated an economic impact of $14.2 million for Marshall County. This year, the event total rose to more than 100, and the economic impact for the county increased to $23.2 million. The facility hosted over 1,700 teams this year, along with 11 concerts, at the Sand Mountain Amphitheater. The event mix includes softball, baseball, tackle football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, boxing and pickleball competitions, as well as concerts, banquets, private parties and community events.
“We won the bid to host the AHSAA East Regional high school softball tournament in May; that is a three-year event contract from 2022 to 2024,” says SMPA General Manager Patrick O’Brien. “That event draws 50-plus teams. We will host University of Alabama Huntsville and Snead State University softball tournaments, along with multiple high school softball tournaments. We have hosted the Marshall County high school tennis tournament and the sectional tennis tournament and will be launching some new adult tennis tournaments.”
He adds that SMPA will host 35-plus youth baseball and softball tournaments this year, including World Series and showcase events. SMPA recently hosted the Sand Mountain Showdown, an exhibition softball game between the University of Alabama and Jacksonville State University, and hosts numerous junior college baseball games in late winter. SMPA is also the home of Albertville High School’s home swim meets and tennis matches.
“We continue to partner with Sand Mountain Park and are excited to bring new events to the park next year," said Katy Norton, president of Marshall County Tourism and Sports. "Having the park and its facilities has opened doors to new opportunities that translate into additional room nights, as well as new visitors to our county. The positive economic impact of sports tourism on our community is only going to grow and expand as the park continues to build their brand. We are thrilled to be part of this growth."
Great Sports and More
This sports, leisure, wellness and entertainment venue boasts a wealth of sports facilities. Among them are 16 tennis courts, nine baseball/softball fields, five multi-purpose turf fields, a handicap-accessible Miracle Baseball field, an indoor eight-lane competition/lap pool, an 18-hole disc-golf course and a 3.5-mile walking/running trail. A 103,000-square-foot community recreation center provides four hardwood basketball courts, a two-story fitness center, a two-lane indoor track, concessions, locker rooms and conference/party rooms. Two outdoor basketball courts, two sand volleyball courts, and multiple concession areas, along with outdoor seating areas, are also in the mix.
For leisure enjoyment, SMPA has an outdoor amphitheater that can accommodate 5,000-plus people, an outdoor water park, seven playgrounds, a 17-slot RV park and two dog parks. Beginning in November, the amphitheater will be transformed into Sand Mountain Skate, featuring the largest real outdoor ice rink in North Alabama at 4,000 square feet, with a capacity of 375 skaters at one time. The amphitheater will be converted into a holiday hub of activities for the region to increase park utilization and community engagement.
“Our mission is to dramatically improve the health and economic vitality of the Sand Mountain region,” O’Brien says, “and I am proud to say that we continue to execute our Mission at a high level. The citizens of the City of Albertville, Marshall County and the entire Sand Mountain region have a higher quality of life because of Sand Mountain Park being here. The park has become a staple in our community while helping fuel significant growth within the city. The most exciting part is that we are going to continue to expand our impact and are still seeking new relationships with event rights holders.”
Serving Up Winners
The Sand Mountain Park Tennis Center is one of the finest tennis facilities in the region and is perfect for any competitive event. It features 12 hard courts and four clay courts, all with MUSCO LED sports lighting and Score Post Pro scorekeeping equipment. There is also a full-time tennis manager, teaching pros who provide lessons and instruction, a players’ clubhouse and onsite pro shop with a retail store, an elevated second-level observation deck, excellent spectator seating areas, dressing rooms for men and women, and convenient parking.
The tennis center holds more than 20 events annually including the Marshall County High School Tournament and adult singles and doubles tournaments, as well as youth clinics, adult leagues and more. SMPA is now looking to add adult and junior tournaments at the local/regional levels, and small/junior college tournaments.
The facility is also capable of hosting pickleball tournaments, with 12 indoor pickleball courts, all on site. The staff wants event owners to know: We have thought of everything. Now, we invite you to come and play our courts.
“Our Tennis Center is one of the best in the region and provides a first-class competitor and spectator experience,” says O’Brien. “Our tennis manager, Jordan Younghouse, has established significant momentum both locally and throughout the region, and the park is focused on cultivating additional growth for the sport. From the court quality to the level of service we provide, it is first-class all-around. The tennis trajectory at Sand Mountain Park is trending higher by the month, and we are seeking to book new events that help cultivate that growth.”
On the Field
Whether an event focuses on football, soccer, lacrosse or even Ultimate, SMPA’s five multi-sport fields, all with AstroTurf and LED lighting, are sure to fit the bill. A championship field provides covered seating for up to 500 spectators, and the four additional fields offer seating for 300. Two fields have inlaid football lines. Portable scoreboards allow for multi-configuration with potential of 10 fields of play for youth. The complex also has nine diamond turf fields for baseball and softball.
More than 25 events are held annually, including high school and youth soccer tournaments, pee-wee football, youth flag football, lacrosse clinics, youth soccer leagues, youth flag football leagues and more. Past competitions have included the Susan Moore High School soccer tournament, Albertville High School/middle school soccer tournament, Guntersville High School soccer tournament and North Alabama Youth Football Association Pee-Wee Football Super Bowl.
SMPA would like to pursue new local and regional events including youth and adult soccer, 3 v 3 soccer, youth flag and/or tackle football, adult football, Ultimate, lacrosse and small/junior college soccer.
“Our turf quality and spectator experience provide an awesome long-field sport atmosphere. Soccer and football are staples in the community here and we continue to see more event interest in those two sports. In addition, we have fun activities for the siblings to do during tournaments which helps make Sand Mountain Park one of the best sports tourism destinations in the region,” says O’Brien.
Beyond the Park
Before and after competitive events, there is plenty to do onsite at SMPA, and guests can also enjoy points of interest beyond the park’s limits. Some of the many attractions include the Albertville Museum, Main Channel Brewery, Jules Berta Winery & Vineyards, Busted Oak Bourbon Society, the Downtown Albertville Farmers Market, and numerous dining and shopping options. Lake Guntersville is also close by and offers fishing, boating, hiking and camping opportunities.
“An important part about Albertville as a sports destination is the genuine kindness people have here,” says O’Brien. “The community embraces park visitors and helps extend warm hospitality throughout their time here, and that separates us from other markets. We also have one of the most talented and dedicated teams in the entire industry. They are committed to our mission and are the reason why we have established ourselves as one of the top sports, wellness and entertainment venues in the country.”
SMPA’s home of Albertville, in northeastern Alabama, is situated at the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains where the sun shines for 200 days per year and outdoor sports can be played almost year-round. Birmingham and Huntsville, major Alabama cities each with international airports, are nearby, and Nashville and Atlanta are both only a three-hour drive from Albertville.
Getting in Touch
From reserving the facilities to securing lodging, SMPA’s staff makes tournament planning easy. Please contact Patrick O’Brien, General Manager, at 717-371-0680 or firstname.lastname@example.org. SDM
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