Bloomington is just eight miles from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis. Centrally located, it is home to Mall of America, more than 8,000 hotel rooms, and top-notch venues for youth and amateur events. It all blends together to make Bloomington an ideal destination for sporting tournaments of any size.
Mall of America: Outstanding Partner
One of the top tourist destinations in the country, Mall of America combines shopping, entertainment and attractions into a one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll find all your shopping needs at nearly 500 stores, from Abercrombie & Fitch to Nordstrom to Zumiez. With 50 restaurants onsite, visitors will never go hungry, while the world’s largest indoor amusement park, Nickelodeon Universe, entertains.
More than a shopping, dining and entertainment destination, Mall of America is a great partner for Bloomington sports tourism. Special sports- related offers from individual retailers are often available for the athletes. Facilities are available for opening and closing events, speakers and signings.
Bloomington Venues Fit the Bill
Bloomington shines in youth and amateur sporting action. In this hockey-happy state it’s certainly no surprise that Bloomington offers a dozen ice arenas welcoming hockey and figure skating tournaments year round. Major arenas provide locker rooms and concessions with the largest seating 3,600 spectators. The 2015 Midwest & Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships chose Bloomington.
Bloomington boasts 15 state-of-the-art basketball courts located at two venues less than three miles apart. The Bloomington Jefferson High School & Activity Center and the Bloomington Kennedy High School & Activity Center each feature spring-loaded hardwood maple courts and seat up to 2,200. Ample parking, locker rooms and concessions add convenience for both fans and athletes.
The 70-meter Hyland Ski Jump hosted the 2015 US Cup Junior Central Series (U10-U14) the first weekend in January 2015 with the top three finishers in each age bracket moving on to the nationals. Later in January Hyland hosted International Nordic ski jumping with former and future Olympians from Norway, Finland, Canada, Slovenia and the United States.
With outstanding indoor courts, Bloomington is enjoying a growth in volleyball events. The 25th annual President’s Day Festival Volleyball Tournament will attract more than 700 girls’ teams. From its beginning this elite tournament has grown into a major amateur/youth sporting event. The USA Volleyball Mizuno Northern Lights Qualifier comes to the tri-cities in April 2015.
Easy to Get Here and Get Around
One of the nation’s top metropolitan areas, Bloomington is within a day’s drive of more than 40 million people. The international airport is within a 3.5-hour flight from anywhere in the United States.
METRO Transit Blue Line makes it easy to park your car and travel between Mall of America, through Bloomington and on to downtown Minneapolis with a final stop at Target Field, home of baseball’s Minnesota Twins. The Blue Line provides fast, quiet light-rail service with 19 stations on the route. The Green Line services St. Paul and the University of Minnesota from downtown Minneapolis. Bus routes originating from the light-rail stations service the community even further. Explore the ease of travel throughout Bloomington and the surrounding area at metrotransit.org/metro-blue-line.
Volunteerism Helps Make it Work
In 2008 the Republican National Convention came to the area. Long before the events, a call for volunteers was made. Participation was loud and clear and a culture of volunteerism was solidified. In August of 2009 the 91st PGA Championship was held at Hazeltine National Golf Club and again volunteers answered the call. From these major occasions to smaller youth tournaments, the community and numerous surrounding colleges and universities come forward when sporting events come to market. Area volunteers are important in helping to run Bloomington events and providing a memorable experience for both the athletes and families.
Lessening the Burden
The team at the Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau has deep experience and is armed with tools that make the planner’s job easier. The Online Housing System will provide a customized website for events that require multiple hotels and a 250+room block. Both attendees and planners benefit from the Online Housing System’s local hotel knowledge and minimal fees.
Bloomington’s Sports Grant Program targets applicants bringing new tournaments that create tourism and visitor spending in Bloomington. Applications are received by the end of January and award announcements are made in early April. Up to $2,500 was awarded to 15-20 qualified candidates in 2014. Grants are awarded across the sports board, from chess to lacrosse to basketball.
Three Cities, One Destination
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington is often promoted as “three cities, one destination,” and with that mantra they’re certainly not strangers to big-time events. In 2014 Target Field hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Partnering with St. Paul and Xcel Energy Center, Bloomington will host the 2016 US Figure Skating Championships. Later in 2016 Hazeltine National Golf Club will host the Ryder Cup. The Super Bowl finds its way to the area in 2018 and the Men’s NCAA Final Four follows in 2019. Fifteen major events will take place throughout the area during the National Senior Games in July 2015.
The area’s passion for sports is reflected in its support of professional and college teams and the sporting events they attract. Bloomington and its CVB reflect this sports culture, bringing a high degree of professionalism and hospitality. It’s that combination that provides planners, athletes and families a memorable Bloomington experience.