The world isn’t getting any smaller but the number of sports venues available for tournaments and events continues to grow. Here’s our look at the best of the next-generation of sports facilities.
Bluegrass SportsPlex, Elizabethtown, Ky.
Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau Executive Director Janna Clark has a new weapon in her arsenal with this 103,000-sq.-ft. indoor facility that opened in January. Because of the material the fields are made of, myriad sports ranging from futsal and volleyball to MMA and basketball are available.
Caesars Forum, Las Vegas
The biggest addition to the Vegas Strip arrives in March. One month later, Caesars Forum will be the site of the NFL Draft. It’s the largest single-level conference center in the world and can host meetings, receptions and athletic competitions.
Cedar Point Sports Center, Sandusky, Ohio
This $42 million venue, situated next to its sister site, Sports Force Parks at Cedar Point Sports Center, will open the door for indoor sports in the Lake Erie region. It has 145,000 square feet of playing area, including a championship arena and ninja warrior course.
Community First Champion Center, Fox Cities, Wis.
The long-awaited project became a reality in November 2019. Its 160,000 square feet includes four basketball courts/eight volleyball courts, an ice rink and a seasonal arena that can host hockey or non-ice sports.
Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City
A $288 million renovation of the convention center, set for completion this fall, is one of the linchpins in a complete redevelopment in OKC. It has 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 30,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and 45,000 square feet of additional space. The center is also near Chesapeake Energy Arena, making the two venues a perfect pairing for a large event.
Granite Knolls Sports Complex, Yorktown, New York
Ten years in the making, the site opened for business in December 2019. The $6 million complex has multipurpose fields, a putting green, basketball and handball courts, a baseball field with press box and bleachers, a pavilion and picnic area and playground equipment.
Feltrim Sports Village, Haines City, Fla.
The 5-acre facility is home to a turf soccer and football stadium that seats 2,500 people. It will also have two adjacent turf training fields, 10 sand volleyball courts, four locker rooms and full concessions services. The sports facility is paired with Balmoral Resort, which rents out two- to six-bedroom houses on-site to athletes, coaches and families.
Flo Fabrizio Ice Center, Erie, Pa.
Erie had two ice pads in winter 2018; now it’s up to five with Flo Fabrizio. The ice center is located at the city’s zoo, and a tournament here would be popular for siblings who otherwise would only be watching the game action.
Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta
The completion of Exhibit Hall BC adds more than 1 million square feet of contiguous exhibit space to one of the country’s biggest facilities. Volleyball tournaments and mega sporting events like the Final Four and Super Bowl will benefit from this added space close to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Horizon Edge Sports Campus, Harrisonburg, Va.
The field house is approximately 90,000 square feet and includes four basketball courts/six volleyball courts and an indoor turf field. Outdoor facilities include a regulation size multipurpose/soccer lighted artificial turf field. Harrisonburg is home to James Madison University, a potential draw to planners looking for college facilities.
Kalahari Resorts, Round Rock, Texas
Opening in November, the 1.5 million-sq.-ft. resort includes a 200,000-sq.-ft. convention center. The resort serves as a perfect complement to Round Rock Sports Center, which has cemented the destination’s appeal for youth and amateur sports events.
Kino Sports Complex South, Tucson, Ariz.
The first phase of improvements here includes 12 lighted natural grass, sand-based long fields suitable for rugby, football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and a variety of other activities and events. There are also 20 pickleball courts on-site. Future developments include a stadium, hotels, restaurant and retail space.
Oregon Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center
Renovations to the convention center, coupled with January’s opening of Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center, promise to further expand Portland’s profile among groups. The hotel adds 20 new meetings/receptions venues, totaling a combined 38,000 square feet. The $40 million renovation of Oregon Convention Center is its first major upgrade in its 30-year life span. It is the largest convention center in the Pacific Northwest with 255,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, two grand ballrooms and 52 individual meeting rooms.
Paradise Coast Sports Complex, Naples, Fla.
This $80 million project from Sports Force Parks will feature 19 fields and open in two phases, beginning with its first event over July 4. The complex is announced as the new home of FBU’s National Championships, FBU’s Top Gun and four new events during the next year.
Panama City Beach Sports Complex, Panama City Beach, Fla.
The newest part of the SFA family celebrated its grand opening last fall. It is already adding to the destination’s appeal, expanding its repertoire from diamond sports to provide a first-class venue for soccer, lacrosse and myriad sports. There are 45 events booked for this year to bring in 45,000 athletes, a testament to the work put in by GM J.D. Wood before his recent move to the Dallas Sports Commission.
USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex - OGE Energy, Oklahoma City
The USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex - OGE Energy Field will get a modernized look with upgraded features to enhance both the fan and media experience. The venue is home to the NCAA Women's College World Series through 2035. Renovations will be completed in time for the 2020 series.
Virginia Beach Sports Center, Virginia Beach
A 200-meter hydraulically banked track is among the highlights of this site when it opens in November. There will be 117,000 square feet of playing space for 12 basketball courts and 24 volleyball courts. Connect’s Indoor Sports Summit will offer an early look here.
Wichita New Baseball Stadium, Wichita, Kan.
A new stadium built where Lawrence-Dumont Stadium once stood, will host the Wichita Wind Surge, a Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. Opening day is April 14. Beyond games, the stadium has five spaces available for sports-themed meetings.
Photo credit: Drone-Tography
World Equestrian Center, Ocala, Fla.
At 378 acres, this facility will be the largest equestrian facility in the United States when it opens this year. A 254-suite, five-star hotel will be on-site. It will host its first event in October 2020, the Golden Retriever Club of America National Specialty Show. Then in December, it will host the Southern Regional Paso Fino Horse Association Ocala Cup.