Known as the gateway to the South, Virginia is located midway between New York and Florida, making it easily accessible for a majority of the East Coast and some Midwestern states. Its diverse terrain ranges from the mountainous western region to the central rolling hills and sandy coastal plains. And while Virginia may be for lovers—as its slogan proudly states—it is also for athletes. The state offers a plethora of sports venues and athletic events, and gladly welcomes anyone interested in hosting a tournament.
Virginia Beach Sports Venues
Virginia Beach features bright beaches, outdoor activities and three miles of bustling boardwalks. The area boasts dozens of affordable accommodations and sports venues, plus an avid collection of fans and athletes.
“Virginia Beach is a great destination for the sports traveler,” said Buddy Wheeler, sports marketing coordinator for the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have the whole package: a good mix of fantastic venues, lodging with reasonable rates and great value to coaches and participants.”
The Virginia Beach Convention Center has 516,522 square feet of flexible space, and it has hosted events like the USA Field Hockey National Indoor Tournament and USA Gymnastics U.S. Classic. It is located blocks from the oceanfront, making it one of the most sought-after facilities in the city for sports planners.
The Virginia Beach Sportsplex is a multipurpose venue with a newly redesigned Sportexe Turf field which makes it perfect for year-round play. The complex is made up of the Sportsplex Stadium, which is mainly used for soccer and seats 10,000 people; and the USA National Field Hockey Center, where the women’s national team practices on two artificial turf fields. The Sportsplex provides ample space for any event, whether it be soccer, rugby, field hockey or football.
Located across the street from the Sportsplex is the Princess Anne Athletic Complex. The venue features eight lighted softball fields and seven multipurpose fields for soccer, football and lacrosse. All fields are available to rent on weekends for tournaments and sports events, but weekday bookings are a little more difficult to schedule due to daily league play.
The Virginia Beach Field House is a 175,000-square-foot facility that features state-of-the-art playing surfaces, a full-service bar and grill and children’s play areas. The Field House offers leagues in soccer, flag football, volleyball, basketball, field hockey and lacrosse. Sports planners can rent the facility for special events, sport camps and tournaments.
Sports Tournaments in Richmond
Located in the heart of Virginia, Richmond is the state capital and home to a variety of historical landmarks, exciting attractions and recreational events. It has hosted nearly every type of professional and amateur activity, from river rafting and go-kart racing to soccer and baseball. Richmond has all kinds of venues that cater to different teams and events, including dozens of facilities at some of the city’s top colleges.
“From stadiums to indoor arenas to sports parks and auditoriums, the Richmond Region can accommodate sports groups large and small,” says Erin Bagnell, public relations manager for the Richmond Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The region is home to 18,000 hotel rooms, and with nearly 200 daily flights at Richmond International Airport, getting here is easy.”
The Richmond Coliseum is one the largest venues in central Virginia with seating for upwards of 13,000 spectators. The venue is home to professional indoor football’s Richmond Raiders and has also hosted semi-professional hockey and basketball teams. It has been a frequent stop for wrestling competitions and even hosted a few bull riding contests.
While Virginia has relatively nice year-round weather, there are occasions when the action needs to be taken inside. That’s where the Sports Center of Richmond comes in. This state-of-the-art indoor complex sits on an eight-acre campus and is designed to host any number of sports. It features two-and-a-half turf fields where soccer, lacrosse, football and dodge ball can be played. There are courts available for volleyball and basketball, plus smaller rooms for aerobics and dance. It also has a few outdoor fields so athletes can partake in some baseball or softball fun.
Located just outside of downtown is the University of Richmond, tucked away in a quiet oasis in the woods. The 8,700-seat E. Claiborne Robins Stadium opened in 2010 as the site where the university’s Spiders football team plays its home games. It also hosts soccer, lacrosse and field hockey games.
Across town at another college campus, sports planners will find the Verizon Wireless Arena, home to the Virginia Commonwealth University basketball and volleyball squads. The 7,500-seat arena is located in the heart of Richmond, so it is easily accessible from any part of the region. Not only does it play host to university games and tournaments, but also to amateur, professional and youth sports teams looking for a top place to compete. It is known as one of the loudest arenas on the East Coast.
Athletic Facilities in Newport News
Located at the southwestern tip of the Virginia Peninsula, on the north shore of the James River, Newport News is a port city with a long seafaring history and the site of many military bases and shipbuilding and boating companies. Newport News boasts dozens of world-class sports facilities, nearly 30 hotels, affordable rates and a welcoming environment.
The Huntington Park Beach, Rose Garden & Tennis Center is located close to the city and right on the water. It features 20 lighted tennis courts, with 150 seats around each of the three main courts. Not only is it a great spot for hosting a tennis tournament, but it also has a field where teams can play baseball or softball. For a quick escape from the sporting action, the facility offers a public beach and boat dock.
Brittingham Midtown Community Center features a 500-seat natatorium with a 50-meter indoor pool with 10 competitive lanes, a three-meter diving board and two one-meter boards above a 14-foot diving well. Apart from its swimming venue, the center features a 200-seat gym for basketball and volleyball matches, a running track and a 14,000-square-foot outdoor space with a retractable roof. The venue has the versatility to cater to a number of sports, with plenty of space for tournament headquarters, concessions and booths.
Just outside Newport News is the War Memorial Stadium in Hampton, Va. Primarily used for baseball, this stadium is home to the Peninsula Pilots, an amateur baseball team. Built back in 1948, the facility has seen many players compete within its walls. At full capacity, it can seat 4,875 people.
Since Newport News is a moderately sized city, only one venue is used by all the high schools for football matches: John B. Todd Stadium. This 11,000-seat venue hosts football games for all five of Newport News’ high schools and is generally packed for all Peninsula Division matches. Track and field competitions are also held at the facility, plus some soccer and lacrosse games.
Arlington Sports Facilities
Located across the Potomac River from Washington D.C., Arlington is one of the most densely populated areas in the nation. Which means there is always something going on. And while this city is known for Arlington National Cemetery, it also has a proud sports tradition. The city boasts a number of sports venues and plenty of accommodations.
Kettler Capitals IcePlex is the practice arena of the Washington Capitals professional hockey team. It is the highest ice rink above street level in the country, sitting on the eighth floor atop the parking garage of the Ballston Common Mall. It features two full-size hockey rinks, a training center and seating for 1,200. Not only is it the practice location for the Capitals, but it also plays host to Georgetown University and George Washington University’s club hockey teams. It is open to the general public for recreational use, and is a popular place for amateur hockey tournaments and games.
Thomas Jefferson Community Center is a multi-purpose venue that features an indoor track, basketball and volleyball courts, outdoor lighted tennis courts and a soccer field. The community center has its own sports leagues that utilize the facilities, but they can also be rented out for tournaments and special sports events.
Virginia has a longstanding reputation as one of the nation’s most influential states as far as history and politics are concerned. But where many people fail to give it credit is in the athletic department. Its many sports teams and venues appeal to a wide range of athletes, coaches and sports planners.