Plano, Texas, is a powerhouse city located within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. It is known as a corporate hub, as well as a top city for education, prosperity, culture and comfort. But also for sports. Plano’s competitive nature permeates every aspect of life, especially when it comes to athletics. In Plano, sports teams will find world-class venues and elite support to ensure the best competitions. Not to mention a wide variety of affordable accommodations, entertainment, dining and shopping. For sports tournaments, Plano’s “got game.”
Plano Sports Authority
Established in 1970, Plano Sports Authority has been serving the sports community of Plano for decades and is a well-respected sports facility. The PSA consists of two buildings housing 22 courts and two turf arenas that host soccer, football and other sports. The PSA is planning to open a third indoor basketball and volleyball facility in 2014, giving it three multi-court venues and a total of 300,000 square feet of space.
Dr. Pepper StarCenter-Plano
The center recently underwent a renovation and reopened in July 2012. It was equipped with new sheets of ice for its two rinks used for hockey and other skating competitions. It also holds a new fitness and hockey training center. The sports venue plays host to a variety of high school matches and leagues, and will be holding the Guns and Hoses Foundation Hockey Tournament in April, benefiting families of officers and firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Cougar Hall is home to the university’s basketball teams but can be transformed to hold volleyball, wrestling and boxing tournaments. The Maureen Connolly Brinker Center is widely admired as one of the best tennis facilities in the state. The venue features 12 lighted courts and hosts a number of collegiate tournaments.
Parks & Recreation
Plano’s Parks & Recreation Department is admired for its large selection of sports fields, as well as the quality and flexibility of its venues. One of the most popular parks in the system is Russell Creek, home to one of the largest soccer programs in the country, Plano Youth Soccer Association. As a result, outside events are limited, so sports planners must act fast to book it as it is always in high demand. A perfectly acceptable back up is Carpenter Park, with 10-12 grass fields ideal for soccer, lacrosse, football and field hockey. Heritage Yards is another popular venue for softball events, but also stays busy with local leagues. One of the largest venues is High Point Park, serving soccer, football and lacrosse tournaments year round.
Attractions and Accommodations
Plan has no shortage of wonderful accommodations and fun attractions to keep sports teams entertained between matches. The city has more than 30 hotels and over 4,000 rooms, allowing it to accommodate sports tournaments of all sizes. Sports planners can select from a variety of national chains and smaller establishments, and they are sure to find one that fits their needs and budget.
Plano, while predominantly a corporate city, offers a number of amusement and interesting attractions for teams to enjoy. Athletes and their families can check out eclectic works at the ArtCentre of Plano, get a history lesson at any of the many museums scattered throughout Plano or get a taste of Hollywood at Southfork Ranch from the hit television show “Dallas.” There is also an abundance of shopping and dining districts, such as Historic Downtown Plano and Legacy Town Center. Kids will find thrills at area attractions like Six Flags theme park, Hurricane Harbor water park, SpeedZone racing park or Zero Gravity Thrill Ride Adventure Park.
Getting Here & Getting Around
Located 20 minutes north of downtown Dallas and about 40 minutes from both DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field Airport, Plano is easily accessible for teams from all over the country. These two major airports offer more than 2,500 daily flights and direct service to over 200 destinations. When teams arrive in Plano, they will find it easy to navigate. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail system, called DART, the DART bus service, four state highways and an interstate serve the area.
Organizing and operating a sports tournament can be a daunting task as it requires much planning, communication, time and hard work. The Plano Convention and Visitors Bureau is here to help with the needs of tournament planners. It provides a housing service if the tournaments requests it, and for room counts of more than 50, offers guest welcome bags. The group can also recruit volunteers to help with registration and information, and will refer tournament attendees to local contacts for everything they need to put on a tournament.
If all these factors are not enough to impress, perhaps sports planners should take a look at all Plano has under its belt.
Current, Past and Future Events
Plano Youth Soccer organizes an invitational over Labor Day weekend that draws over 500 teams. Elite Showcase Inc. hosts three fastpitch softball showcases. PrimeTime Sports puts on a national basketball championship in July, using gyms across five or six cities. In the spring of 2012, the Plano Sports Authority held the National College Table Tennis Championships, gaining the city and its volunteers wide recognition. Plano has also been hosting the National Junior College Division III Men’s Tennis Championships the last five to six years.
And there is much more on the forefront for Plano. The city is in its third year of hosting a US Fencing competition, an event difficult to snag. The city will also be working with The Pattison Group for the second straight year to run lacrosse events, a sport Plano hopes to build enthusiasm for through the collaboration.
Plano has many admirable attributes, and it prides itself on its ability to attract first-class sports tournaments and athletic events. The city certainly has high standards for its sports, and is dedicated to providing teams, planners, and families with a memorable sports experience.
For more information about hosting a sports tournament in Plano, please contact Cissy Aberg, Sports Sales Manager at the Plano Convention and Visitors Bureau, 972-941-5849, or check out their website, www.planocvb.com.
–By Vanessa Day