Lincoln may be the capital of Nebraska and its second largest city, but here sports planners and their teams will not get lost in the crowd. When tournaments or sporting events come to town, the attention is on them.
“When a sports event is going on in Lincoln…the community is always aware,” says Derek Feyerherm, director of sales and operations for the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau. “So you really feel like your event is the only one that’s happening.”
It is this element that really sets Lincoln apart as a sports destination, as well as its impressive list of past sporting events, high-quality athletic venues and the individualized service and hospitality delivered by the convention and visitors bureau.
Lincoln has been one of the top destinations for softball and baseball tournaments. It has a wide range of sports venues that cater to teams of every skill level, from youths to professionals. But Lincoln is also building its repertoire of events. It is looking to attract more soccer tournaments and is working with partner organizations to bring in regional events to the city’s world-class soccer complexes.
The city has also excelled in its golfing events, recently hosting the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships and NCAA Division III Men’s Golf National Championship. In addition, Lincoln has been working with a few adaptive sports groups and landed events like the National Amputee Golf Association’s National Championships.
Next year Lincoln will welcome the 2015 State Games of America, a national event that is expected to draw 18,000 participants.
With so many sports events in Lincoln, the city is fortunate to have some top-notch facilities in which to host them all.
Top Lincoln Sports Facilities
Pinnacle Bank Arena
Opened in fall 2013, the brand new arena is the cornerstone of the city’s downtown entertainment center development. The venue encompasses 470,400 square feet and seats 16,000 spectators. It is home to the University of Nebraska men’s and women’s basketball teams, but is also available for other events like wrestling and volleyball.
Abbott Sports Complex
One of the finest sports complexes in the state, the 100-acre facility offers 20 soccer fields with seating for 2,500 fans, 11 indoor volleyball courts, four basketball courts and one indoor turf field. There is a tennis center with six indoor courts and many outdoor courts. It recently introduced a new motocross course.
This baseball and softball complex is shared by the Lincoln Saltdogs of the Northern League and the University of Nebraska’s baseball team. There are 4,400 chairback seats and plenty of space on the greenery along the baselines and outfield fence.
The Ice Box is a 5,010-seat multi-purpose arena that serves as the home of the Lincoln Stars Junior Hockey Team, which competes in the United States Hockey League. It is also available for other ice-skating events and tournaments.
A sports complex on the University of Nebraska campus that includes a 7,907-seat multi-purpose arena, a 1,000-seat covered 25-yard swimming and diving facility, and a 5,000-seat covered track and field facility, which has a 200-meter hydraulic-banked track. This facility hosts gymnastics events, indoor track and field races, and swimming and diving competitions.
Top Lincoln Attractions
During down time, there is a lot for athletes and spectators to do around Lincoln. There are plenty of amateur sports that teams enjoy watching, such as the USHL hockey’s Lincoln Stars, who compete at the Ice Box; or Lincoln Saltdogs, the amateur baseball team. The Lincoln CVB will even work with the Salt Dogs to arrange special viewing areas for attendees in town for sports events.
Young visitors will really like Champion Fun Center. It features go karts, batting cages, a four-story free fall, mini golf, bowling, over 70 arcade games and food. Kids and teens can check out the Lincoln Children’s Museum, offering three floors of hands-on exhibits and programs that will keep them entertained for hours. Lincoln’s Children’s Zoo is also a great attraction for the whole family.
Adult participants will appreciate Lincoln’s wide variety of vineyards and craft breweries, such as James Arthur Vineyards or ZipLine Brewing. They can also check out the entertainment district downtown, called Haymarket, and the newest addition to the area, the Railyard, which features new bars and restaurants, retail shops and an open plaza where guests can mingle.
Getting Here & Getting Around
Thanks to its central location in the heart of the country, Lincoln is easily accessible from most areas of the U.S. Lincoln’s airport, located 5-10 minutes from downtown, is served by United and Delta airlines. Omaha Airport, about 40 miles away, is home to seven major airlines that provide nonstop flights to more than 22 cities. A shuttle service from Omaha’s airport to Lincoln’s hotels makes it super convenient for visitors. Lincoln is easy to navigate by car, and you can get almost anywhere you need to go in about 20 minutes or less.
The team at the Lincoln CVB makes it easy to plan a sports event in Lincoln. During the planning process, the team helps organizers locate facilities that fit their needs and will arrange site visits so planners know exactly what they are getting, according to Feyerherm. The team will work with the facility to make sure all needs are met and help find lodging that is near the event space and within budget for tournament participants.
Once teams arrive, the CVB takes a hands-on approach to ensure that everything goes smoothly. “There’s no request we can’t help with,” Feyerherm says.
Lincoln is truly a sports-minded town, thanks to its supportive community, great sports venues and award-winning university sports teams. Not only that, but the city makes all athletes and fans feel welcome.
“It does feel like the community is completely around and embracing you,” Feyerherm says. “We get behind the different sporting events that are held here in Lincoln.”
So if you’re looking for a sports destination that puts you at the center of it all, shout Lincoln!
ContactLincoln CVB Derek Bombeck, Sales Development Manager P.O. Box 83737, Lincoln, NE 68501 Phone: 402-436-2354 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.lincoln.org
–By Vanessa Day