New sports venues continue to emerge across the country at a fast pace. Here to make sense of it all is a list of the ones opening or redeveloped for this year’s slate of action. And yes, we cheated a little with a two-venues-in-one listing at Texas A&M.
Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
As if ESPN’s sports facility wasn’t spectacular enough, a new 8,000-seat arena opened in January. While the arena will host basketball, wrestling and volleyball, cheerleaders will be doing the biggest jumps for joy. The facility is touted as one of the largest in the country designed specifically for cheer and dance events. About 5,000 athletes tested it out already during the College Cheer Championship. Esports
will find their way into the arena, as well.
D.C. United’s decades-long quest for a new home is almost complete. The 20,000-seat venue (pictured) in Southwest Washington, D.C., is almost sure to attract an MLS All-Star Game and is targeted for other sporting and cultural events. Combined with Nationals Park
, Audi Field is an example of how the District is building through sports business.
Banc of California Stadium
This soccer-specific venue is being built for MLS expansion club—Los Angeles FC. While the facility doesn’t get the attention of the city’s upcoming football stadium, it will have a huge impact on the region. In addition to the 22,000-seat stadium, there will be restaurants, retail and conference space. Among other amenities is an on-site swimming pool. Besides MLS games, the stadium is slated to host Rugby Sevens events and Olympic
soccer action in 2028.
BB&T Sports Park
Bermuda Run, N.C.
Upgrades to BB&T Sports Park outside of Winston-Salem
, North Carolina, might not look as originally planned. But that’s fine by Scott Wollaston, executive director at Twin City Sports Association. In a mere 10 weeks, four soccer fields were transformed from Bermuda grass to turf. The move allows Wollaston to branch out to lacrosse, Ultimate and other sports that are harsh on grass. Carolina Athletic Performance, an indoor facility that separately runs but shares a parking lot with BB&T, may open as early as August 2018.
Davis Diamond and E.B. Cushing Stadium
Bryan College Station, Texas
In a case of what’s good for Texas A&M is good for Bryan College Station and vice versa, the Aggies’ new sports facilities will benefit the entire community. Davis Diamond is a $28.5 million softball complex while the $39.8 million E.B. Cushing Stadium is a prime track and field venue. Both are expected to be ready for the 2018 season.
D.C. Entertainment and Sports Arena
The new home
of The Washington Mystics and practice site for the Washington Wizards should revitalize one of the District’s most underserved regions. On a site visit at the former St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Southeast Washington, D.C., it is estimated that the 5,000-seat arena will make a $90 million economic impact over 20 years.
ErieBank Sports Park
More than the name of Family First Sports Park is changing this year. A $9.1 million renovation will take part in two phases; the first will occur between January and August. Among the highlights of phase one: two NHL regulation-size ice rinks will be constructed to replace indoor soccer fields; eight full-size ice rink locker rooms will be built; basketball courts will be surfaced; and eight outdoor grass fields will receive a renovation.
Photo Credit: D.C. United
Hoover Met Complex
The massive project, 10 miles of south of Birmingham, is beginning to take shape. The advanced Finley Center
, which can host up to 11 basketball or 17 volleyball courts, opened last year. In the on-deck circle are five baseball/softball fields set for completion in August 2018. Look for five other multipurpose (soccer, football, lacrosse) fields and 16 tennis courts to be ready in 2019.
Louis Armstrong Stadium
A round of applause at the new 14,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium at the U.S. Open will be music to the U.S. Tennis Association’s ears this summer. Complete with a retractable roof, the new court will still play second fiddle to Arthur Ashe Stadium but will be the largest No. 2 court among Grand Slam venues. It is scheduled to open on time for the 2018 tournament.
Louisville Convention Center
After 22 months of remodeling and construction, Louisville Convention Center
re-opens its doors this August—and not a moment too soon for Connect’s 2019 home
. Beyond conferences and meetings, the facility’s 200,000 square feet of contiguous space is well suited for indoor competitions like weightlifting, cheerleading and more.
National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum
The 100,000-sq.-ft. attraction celebrating the sport’s history will be located at the south end of Toyota Stadium, home to FC Dallas. The project includes events space and is part of an upgrade, including three new premium-seating areas to catch the on-field action.
National Training and Coaching Development Center
Kansas City, Kan.
The state-of-the-art National Training and Coaching Development Center is the new, expansive training home of Sporting Kansas City. It is also expected to attract clubs and national teams from around the world for training and development. The site will host seminars and clinics, complementing the work of the Kansas City, Missouri-based National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Orange County Great Park
The long-awaited facility should be ready to go in late 2018. The wait should be worth it. The site will span 175 acres (twice as big as Disneyland). When done, Great Park will include a 2,500-seat soccer stadium, 25 tennis courts, baseball and softball fields with championship stadiums, five sand volleyball courts, six natural sod soccer fields, six artificial turf soccer fields, and a series of flex fields for lacrosse, cricket and rugby. There will also be basketball courts and a children's playground.
Panama City Beach Sportsplex
Panama City Beach, Fla.
Estimated to cost between $27 million and $30 million, this anticipated facility in Panama City Beach, Florida
, will add up to 13 fields to the region. Look for national and regional soccer and lacrosse events to use the complex in the spring and fall.
Photo Credit: PRNewsfoto/The Sports Facilities Advisory
Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience
What happens when heavy hitters like the NCAA, Pacers, Colts and Indianapolis Motor Speedway partner with the world’s largest children’s museum? The result is a 7.5-acre permanent exhibit, including 12 outdoor sports experiences and three indoor exhibits, highlighted by the National Art Museum of Sport. Kickoff at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is slated for March 17.
Rocky Mountain Sports Park
The world’s largest sports park
will begin to take shape this year. The first phase of the project, highlighted by a 10,000-seat stadium, is slated for completion during the second half of 2018. But wait till next year—that’s when all 65 fields fit for toddlers through collegiate athletes should be ready to go.
Rocky Mount Event Center
Rocky Mount, N.C.
This newly planned indoor sports destination in North Carolina got a jumpstart on awareness when featured on HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.” From the same developers who built Rocky Top Sports
in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the 165,000-sq.-ft. RMEC is the lynchpin in a plan to revitalize downtown Rocky Mount. It’s already spurred more than $4 million worth of investments.
Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center
The new 17,500-seat home of the Milwaukee Bucks (pictured above) will fill 30 acres of mostly vacant land. The 714,000-sq.-ft. arena, located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, will be a year-round centerpiece for Wisconsin’s cultural and entertainment industry, attracting nationally-recognized musical acts, cultural events and other sporting competitions.
Photo credit: Milwaukee Bucks