Located in the Coastal Virginia Region where the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay meet, Virginia Beach, Virginia, is consistently ranked among the best beach destinations in the U.S. It is the state’s most populous city with just over 460,000 people, 23.4 percent of whom are ages 20 to 34. Close behind are 33- to 44-year-olds that comprise 13.2 percent of the population, 45- to 54-year-olds at 13.1 percent, and the 55- to 64-year-old crowd at 12.2 percent.
The city encompasses seven unique districts — Sandbridge, Chesapeake Bay, Town Center, Pungo, Oceanfront, ViBe Creative District and Inland — each with a distinct personality. The destination’s 38 miles of bay and ocean beaches, flourishing culinary and emerging craft beer scene, rich history and variety of arts, entertainment, sports events and family-friendly attractions keep millions of annual visitors engaged throughout the year. In 2017, the city hosted 19 million domestic visitors (10.1 million overnight visitors and 8.9 million day visitors) with average overnight visitor spend of $588 per party. That same year, 408,000 international travelers (44 percent from Canada) visited Virginia Beach, a 4.0 percent increase from 2016.
Over the past 20 years, Virginia Beach has established itself as a year-round sports tourism hub and now hosts more than 100 events annually, including regional events, national championships and tournaments attracting thousands of athletes, along with their families and spectators.
For sports event planners, Virginia Beach provides top-notch facilities and venues, plus miles of beautiful public beaches. In fact, the Virginia Beach oceanfront is an ideal place for a variety of outdoor sports including sand soccer, beach volleyball, surfing, ocean swimming, triathlon, marathon/running races and plenty of others. The city also offers 11,000 hotel rooms and a multitude of restaurants and attractions. Plus, an experienced team of sports marketing professionals is always on hand to provide full support and will go the extra mile to help make any event a success.
Virginia Beach Sports Center
Slated to open in November of 2020 is the new Virginia Beach Sports Center which will host a diverse range of sporting events and tournaments. Located in the Oceanfront District, this 285,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility will showcase a 200-meter indoor hydraulically banked track, field event features including dual jumping pits and dual pole vault pits, and 195,000 square feet of programmable space — 117,000 square feet of which will be multi-purpose, column-free flexible space that can accommodate 12 basketball courts convertible to 24 volleyball courts.
Additionally, the Sports Center will provide seating for nearly 5,000 track spectators and will include concession areas and meeting rooms. With the court space and ability to lay the track flat, the design will also be able to accommodate a variety of sporting events such as gymnastics, wrestling, futsal, floor hockey and more.
The strategic design of the floor plan has taken into consideration all aspects needed for competitions and includes convertible restrooms with special doping control rooms, warm-up track lanes, athlete restrooms and dedicated locker rooms for officials with private entrances. The facility also has an outdoor courtyard event and staging space for festivals, ceremonies and live entertainment.
Additional space for sports event organizers is available immediately across the street at the 500,000-square-foot Virginia Beach Convention Center, a LEED Gold-certified premier sports and convention complex, perfect for wrestling tournaments, cheerleading championships and more, located 0.8 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and convenient to a variety of hotels and restaurants. There is no doubt that the new Sports Center, in conjunction with Virginia Beach’s other exceptional venues, will enhance the city’s appeal as a year-round tournament destination.
“Virginia Beach Sports Marketing has been an active player in the sports tourism industry for more than 20 years. After building a brand of hosting more than 1,000 successful events and welcoming millions of athletes, coaches, fans and spectators, we are excited to make the dream of the Virginia Beach Sports Center a reality,” says Nancy Helman, Director of Sports Marketing, Virginia Beach CVB. “We maximized all of our years of experience and leveraged all of our relationships to create what we think is the crown jewel of sports venues. We are proud of this world-class sport tournament facility and look forward to welcoming you.”
Hampton Roads Soccer Complex
Opened in 1990, the Hampton Roads Soccer Complex hosts more than 50,000 out-of-town visitors each year. It is an outdoor, 75-acre soccer Mecca that offers nearly two dozen fields and is located less than a mile from the Virginia Beach Sportsplex, a two-level, 6,000-seat stadium built primarily for soccer but also used for other field sports such as football, rugby and lacrosse.
The Princess Anne Athletic Complex
This facility is located in the heart of Princess Anne Commons across the street from the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. It includes eight lighted tournament-quality softball fields and eight multi-purpose playing fields (these allow for football and soccer), four of which are lighted synthetic and four of which are Hybrid Bermuda.
US Field Hockey Regional Training Center
The venue, one of America’s most well-known field hockey complexes, boasts two artificial, international, competition-quality turf fields. Lighting on one of the fields provides the ability to host tournaments and night games. Both fields have a complex underground irrigation system and less than 1/16 of an inch crown from the center of the field to the sidelines. High-powered watering systems can completely saturate each field in less than 10 minutes, making for ideal playing conditions. Amenities include home and away locker rooms with showers, restrooms and a sports medicine training room, and a concession stand is located at the entrance of the complex. Located right behind the Regional Training Center are the Sportsplex Athletic Fields, three acres of open natural grass that can be customized for soccer, lacrosse, flag football, 5K runs, or a variety of other events and festivals.
Virginia Beach Field House
This indoor sports facility provides more than 175,000 square feet that can accommodate leagues, camps, clinics and tournaments for youth and adults in soccer, flag football, volleyball, basketball, arena (indoor) baseball and softball, field hockey, lacrosse and other sports. The venue has six turf fields, eight regulation volleyball courts, four basketball courts, plus multiple party rooms, an arcade, an indoor Fun Zone, a fully stocked food court and full locker rooms.
Overall, notes Helman, surpassed expectations, unheralded effort, and larger-than-life performances are what can be expected with a Virginia Beach sporting event. Success is a team sport and Virginia Beach is willing to push beyond any limits to give any event the winning combination of world-class service and state-of-the-art facilities so event owners and rights holders can hit it right out of the park. SDM
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