The Palmetto State hosts premier events and attracts millions of spectators every summer. 2016 was a great year for South Carolina sports—2017 looks to be even better.
When you think of South Carolina, what do you imagine? Nice weather, beautiful beaches, great hotels, an active nightlife. It’s time to add top-notch sports tournaments to this list because the Palmetto State is a rising star. Name a sport and South Carolina has most likely hosted, or is scheduled to host, a premier event in that sport. But it doesn’t end with event flexibility—this state’s tournaments have strong economic impacts that benefit infrastructure and other important ventures. From Greenville to Columbia, South Carolina boasts state-of-the-art complexes and huge events that make the state one of America’s finest in sports tradition.
2017 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament
Scheduled to run from March 1-5, the SEC Tourney will be held at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The 14,400-seat venue recently received a $14-million renovation and now features high-resolution ribbon boards, a scoreboard with four video screens, a Bose sound system and state-of-the-art locker rooms. The single-elimination tournament will involve all 14 league schools and is expected to bring 9,700 attendees to Greenville. With an overall economic impact of $1.8 million, the SEC Tournament should be a triumph for South Carolina sports.
Self Regional Healthcare Women’s Health Classic, LPGA Symetra Tour
The town of Greenwood will enjoy an LPGA event when the Women’s Health Classic occurs from May 11-May 14, 2017. The Links at Stoney Point will be the site—this beautiful 18-hole, championship course was designed by Tom Jackson and fits perfectly with the top-notch golf scene in the Palmetto State. 144 women will compete, while the event is also expected to attract 10,000 visitors over four days. The total purse ($250,000) is the highest on the tour, but the economic impact of this event will be even greater—it was roughly $2 million in 2016.
Palmetto Pro Open
This Women’s 25K USTA Pro Circuit Event will be held from June 10-18, 2017, at Palmetto Tennis Center. With 24 top-of-the-line deco turf courts that are lighted for night play, you can’t get much better than this venue. There are also four on-site tennis pros who offer private lessons and group clinics for players aged four and older. Other amenities include two ball machines, a stringing service, party rentals and a pro shop. The Open is expected to boast an economic impact of $976,500 and will include 12 to 14 tournaments and more than 3,000 players. You won’t want to miss one of South Carolina’s finest tennis tourneys.
Carolina Panthers Training Camp
Panthers fanatics, and football-lovers in general, flocked to Panthers training camp from July 28 to Aug. 16 this past summer. The defending NFC champions practice at Wofford College in Spartanburg, where five full-sized soccer fields surround a football stadium and make for the perfect site to prepare for the upcoming NFL season. The most exciting part about this event lies in its future—in September 2017, Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium is scheduled to open. The 110,00-square-foot venue will include a 3,400-seat basketball arena and a 500-seat volleyball complex.
Palmetto Indoor Pickleball Doubles Invitational
This pickleball tournament, held Aug. 13-15, accomplished two major feats—bringing attention to a growing international sport and providing Aiken, South Carolina, residents with one of the year’s most entertaining events. O’Dell Weeks Recreation Center was the site of this tourney—it features eight indoor courts, two indoor gyms, meeting space, locker rooms, a one-mile walking track, 10 lighted clay tennis courts, a Frisbee golf course and picnic shelters. With 190 players competing in the Invitational, it had an overall economic impact of $100,000.
Triple Crown Summer Nationals
Summer Nationals was one of Triple Crown’s largest and most successful events of 2016. Returning for its 14th year this past July, the tournament stretched two weeks and featured an opening ceremony, a team parade, pin trading and a team skills challenge. The event took place at Grand Park, one of the state’s most renowned sports complexes, boasting seven large fields, two youth fields, a six-tunnel batting cage, and three towers for restrooms and concessions. Triple Crown Summer Nationals featured over 250 teams and, as always, drew some of the most intense competition in all of travel baseball.
High Tide Ultimate Frisbee
North Myrtle Beach
High Tide is unique—it’s the single largest collegiate Ultimate Frisbee spring training event in the United States. Scheduled to take place from March 6-30, 2017, the event will attract an estimated 225 teams, with an economic impact of $3.7 million. North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex will be the site where 3,500 players from 29 states congregate. High Tide will remain in North Myrtle Beach for the next five years, meaning that one of South Carolina’s best sporting traditions isn’t going away any time soon.
Big League World Series
City of Easley
Since 1968, the Big League World Series has given us a glimpse at the future of America’s pastime. Every summer, children aged 15-18 compete in one of the country’s best youth baseball tournaments. In 2016, the event took place in the City of Easley, South Carolina, at J.B. Red Owens Sports Complex. The Big League World Series was broadcast on ESPN and garnered an estimated economic impact of $725,000. There were six internal and five United States teams, while 15,000 spectators came from around the world to see some of youth baseball’s finest.
2016 South Carolina Shootout
This lacrosse tourney held in early June was one of the biggest and best in America. The sixth annual event highlighted the fastest-growing sport in America and offered viewers a glimpse at some of its most gifted athletes. 203 teams came to compete at The Fields at Saluda Shoals Park and Seven Oaks Park, where 13 fields make possible constant game action. In addition, the event had a grand total of 2,472 participants and brought in 4,944 spectators. Such popularity ultimately resulted in the Shootout bringing in $873,346 for the Columbia community.