Winter Cross Country SkiingYou’re in charge of planning a tournament and you’ve got some decisions to make. Combining aesthetics with logistics is always the tricky part of planning any sporting event. You’ve got to find a place big enough to host your sports and teams, and you’ve got to make sure there will be entertainment options for parents and kids once the games are done. You’ve got to make sure the area has the right hotel accommodations, and it has to be easy to get there. Taking care of the big stuff – and small stuff –can get stressful.

Well, stress no more because Ann Arbor, Michigan has you covered. Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, has always been known as a sports town. With top-of-the-line indoor ice rink options, three college campuses with sports facilities and the ever-engaging Washentaw County Park system at your disposal, choosing Ann Arbor to host your next event or tournament will leave everyone on your team satisfied.

And as anyone who’s planned an event knows, it’s always good to have some help. The Ann Arbor Area Sports Commission has a committed team to assist with planning your event from start to finish.

What is there to do in Ann Arbor?

Ask any kid or parent what they liked most about their last sports tournament and you probably won’t hear about the games themselves. Most of the fun happens before and after the actual competition. So as a sports planner, you need to make sure that wherever you take your team(s), there will be plenty of entertainment options available.

What do kids on sports teams love? More sports. Taking your team to a University of Michigan sporting event will be a thrill they won’t forget. And with the right planning you may even be able to get them onto the field, court or rink after the game. But Ann Arbor is so much more than just the U of M.

Rolling Hills Water Park in nearby Ypsilanti is a great family attraction with water slides, lazy river and wave pools. The Hands-On Museum in a must-see (more like must-touch) landmark that will keep everyone engaged with light and sound exhibits and interactive science shows. Perfect for those long stretches of down time are the walking and hiking trails, golf course, and plenty of picnic and recreation space in the Washentaw County Parks in Ann Arbor.

X Factors

  • 20 minutes away from Detroit Metro International Airport
  • 90-minute flight away from 60% of the US population
  • Home to three University Athletic Campuses
  • Committed team to assist with planning your event from beginning to finish
  • Volunteer recruitment available from internal database

Planner Perspective

The Ann Arbor Ice Cube is a great venue, which is why we keep coming back. We know that our competitions are in good hands because of the strong support from the arena staff and dedication of the local volunteer base. Not to mention our competitors certainly enjoy exploring the city as they wind down from their event (and many months/years of hard work).

Brett Mueller, U.S. Figure Skating, Competitions Coordinator

I have been organizing running and multisport events for over 20 years and have found Ann Arbor to be an outstanding city for hosting events.  Aside from the variety of venues, including urban, trails, parks and dirt roads, the Ann Arbor Sports Commission has been incredibly supportive and helpful by making sure our participants have all of their needs met.  They help secure hotel blocks, supply wonderful maps, guidebooks and other resources of what to do around town.  They are a tremendous asset and an integral part of my event planning.

Eva Solomon, CEO, Epic Races

Ann Arbor was a great city to host our event. Not only is it one of the greatest college towns in the country but the hockey venues are top-notch. The kids were able to see a college game before the tournament and then skate at Yost Ice Arena during the event. That is something that every player will remember for sure. The Ice Cube is a three-pad facility that worked with us all weekend and made hosting the event rather easy. And when we ran out of ice in Ann Arbor, we were fortunate enough to get the Arctic Coliseum in Chelsea, MI which is about 20 minutes away. Again, great staff and facility. One of the other reasons that people loved the event was all the hotels and restaurants. Nothing was far away. We loved it so much that we are coming back this upcoming season.

Sasha Ristic, Director of Events, LEGACY Global Sports

A Wide Range of Outstanding Facilities

University of Michigan

Credit U of M Athletic

Credit U of M Athletic

Sports: Hockey, baseball, softball, football, lacrosse, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, wrestling, field hockey, swimming and diving, rowing, golf, tennis, track and field

The University of Michigan lays claim to some of the biggest and best sporting venues not just in Ann Arbor but in the entire country. Obviously there’s the Big House, which hosts football and lacrosse on its FieldTurf surface and seats 107,601 of your closest friends. But Yost Ice Arena is no second fiddle. One of the most famous places to play hockey was built in 1923 and underwent major renovations in 2012; with a capacity of 5,800, it features mostly bleacher seating with some premium seating mixed in. The newest adventure on the Michigan campus is the Athletics South Competition and Performance Project, which is now underway and will house indoor and outdoor lacrosse and track and field competitions, plus an indoor women’s rowing tank. The 280,000-square-foot complex will seat 2,000 indoors, 500 outdoors.

Also available are University of Michigan’s recreational facilities, including a 100-yard artificial turf football field complete with a realistic “M” logo in the middle, two softball fields, three basketball courts, and soccer and Frisbee areas.

Eastern Michigan University

Credit EMU Athletics

Credit EMU Athletics

Sports: Baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, swimming and diving, track and field, wrestling, gymnastics, rowing, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball

If you think playing on the same court that the best players in the WNBA have played on will excite your team, then start planning a trip to Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. The Convocation Center, the crown jewel of EMU sporting facilities, hosted the WNBA Finals in 2008. Seating 8,800, this 204, 316-square-foot gymnasium is home to the Eagles’ basketball and volleyball teams and can host wrestling and gymnastics as well. Oestrike Stadium, the college’s baseball field, is an excellent venue for baseball tournaments because of its Pro Grass infield and completely covered bleacher seating, which holds approximately 2,000 people.

Ann Arbor Ice Cube

Sports: Hockey, ice skating

This state-of-the-art indoor ice facility, open year-round, features three skating pads, bleacher seating, a skating pro shop, physical therapy space, a public fitness center, café and deli, arcade games and vending machines. Any equipment needed can be rented. In addition to hosting U.S. Figure Skating events, the Ice Cube is home to the University of Michigan speed skating team and several area high school and amateur adult hockey teams.

Arctic Coliseum

Sports: Hockey, skating

This facility, with two rinks, seems like it was designed with sports tournaments in mind. The Arctic Breakaway Bar and Grill is situated above the rinks and has windows that overlooks them both. Also inside of this 85,000-square-foot complex are two banquet rooms, the Arctic Fitness Center, a concessions stand and pro shop. The Arctic Coliseum is located in Chelsea, Michigan, a 20-minute drive west of the city.

Concordia University

Sports: Baseball, basketball, golf, football, soccer, tennis, track and field, bowling, lacrosse, cross country, softball, cheerleading

The word Concordia roughly translates to harmony. This 187-acre campus on the banks of the scenic Huron River will give your team and guests a harmonious blend of sports and nature. The multi-purpose synthetic turf field can host an array of football, soccer and lacrosse and features bleacher seating. Concordia University is a well-known sports camp destination so you can rest assured knowing their staff and students are used to handling large groups of young kids. Intramural and recreational facilities feature several soccer fields with recreation space for activities and other sports.

Washentaw County Parks

U-M GolfSports: Hiking, running, fishing, golf, leisure activities

Your team is going to need to unwind after a day full of competition and hustle. There’s no better place to do that in Ann Arbor than in the great outdoors. The Washentaw County Parks system is made up of 3438 acres of hiking and walking trails, lakes and rivers to relax by and nature preserves to appreciate. But it’s not just water and earth – there are sporting destinations, too. Pierce Lake Golf Course, a disc golf course, and outdoor basketball courts and badminton areas are all found within the park system. Rolling Hills Water Park is never a bad idea for some fun in the sun.

How to Get There

By Air: Detroit is a 90-minute flight away from 60 percent of the U.S. population, so odds are that you’re close. Once you’ve landed, you are only a 20-minute drive from Ann Arbor.

By Car: Ann Arbor is within a day’s drive away from cities like Washington DC, Indianapolis, Madison, Louisville, Chicago and Philadelphia. If you call home anywhere in between these areas, Ann Arbor is closer than you think.