The Queen City and its surrounding region is a ruler in the sports industry. Cincinnati just hosted the MLB 2015 All Star-Game at Great American Ball Park, home of the first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds. The city hosts a number of professional sports events such as NASCAR racing at the nearby Kentucky Speedway and the Western & Southern Open men’s and women’s tennis tournaments. Cincy is booming; when it comes to spectators and fans, you’ll see locals and visitors alike in your stands. Visitors to Cincinnati reached 24.1 million in 2013 (including both overnight and day trips), which was an increase of 4 percent from previous years.
Pick Your Place of Play
Within the city limits, there’s more opportunity for sports events than you may expect from a metropolitan area. For a banquet or an array of indoor events, Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center features over 750,000 square feet of space with 35-foot-tall ceilings.
There’s space for marathons and other running events downtown; get views of historic buildings, art structures and the flowing river. The city’s famous marathon, Flying Pig Marathon, goes off every spring without a hitch. Not to mention Cincinnati’s spacious parks are usable for more than festivals and live music.
Warren County, located just a half hour north of Cincinnati, is a hotbed for sport activity, especially in its cities of Mason and Lebanon. If you attended 2015 NASC in Milwaukee, you already know that Warren County CVB was the recipient of the National Association of Sports Commissions’ 2015 Sports Tourism of the Year with a Budget Under $250,000.
Mason’s Heritage Oak Park features baseball/softball fields, soccer fields, lighted tennis courts and lighted basketball courts. Other amenities include a playground, picnic shelters, walking paths and concessions. It has hosted events such as Australian Rules Football National Championships, Ultimate Frisbee Collegiate National Championships, Club Ultimate Frisbee Tournaments and, yes, a Quidditch Regional Championship.
Lebanon Sports Complex features football and soccer fields, and has hosted US Lacrosse Festivals, Ultimate Frisbee Championships and the Model Rocketry National Championship. Golf Center at Kings Island in Mason is an 18-hole golf course that has hosted NCAA Division III Cross Country Championship and Big East Cross Country Championship.
Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason has hosted Ohio Athletic Conference Tennis championships, Atlantic 10 Tennis championships, WC Sports Tennis Tournament (put on by Warren County CVB), and 2015 and 2016 Ohio High School Tennis Championships. The venue can accommodate 16 tennis courts, including one center court and one grandstand court, and features a retail plaza and food court. The venue can also be configured for sand volleyball and hosts the Cincinnati AVP Open.
Courts 4 Sports has brought numerous teams and spectators to Mason by hosting AAU Girls’ Basketball National Championships, Midwest Showdown Basketball Tournament and wrestling tournaments. It is Cincinnati’s premier youth basketball, volleyball and futsal facility with six hardwood basketball and/or volleyball courts.
Warren County’s parks play host to events such as WC Preseason Showdown, WC Summer Slam, Great American Baseball Classic, Kings Island Invitational, Beach Bash and WC Fall Classic. Mason Sports Park offers five lighted ball diamonds, two football fields and a 9-hole disc golf course in its 54 acres. Corwin Nixon Park spans 51 acres and is home to four lighted ball diamonds and six multipurpose rectangular fields. It is also home to Lou Eve’s pool and the Mason TRIUMPhant Triathlon as well as the Mason Mini-marathon each year. Opened in 2012, CTC Fields at Mounts Station Park in Hamilton Township boasts five baseball fields of various sizes and has become home to a wide variety of tournaments throughout the season including the Continental Amateur Baseball Association (CABA) World Series for 9- and 12-year-olds. Fleckenstein Park in Mason is a 50-acre park that features soccer fields, baseball fields, tennis courts, a playground, several ponds and a large picnic shelter with restrooms.
If you travel a bit farther into the country, you’ll find Roberts Arena, a full-service horse show facility in Wilmington. A new 615-by-120-foot indoor arena has been added and an existing indoor arena has been expanded to 260 by 108 feet. These additions, combined with existing arenas, now provide a total of over 130,000 square feet of heated riding space, making Roberts Arena the largest heated facility for shows in the nation, complete with more than 700 stalls and 20 on-site cabins for rental.
The Fun Continues When the Final Whistle Blows
In downtown Cincinnati, a must for teams and families is the Reds Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. If you can, I highly recommend pairing a tour with a Reds’ game to inspire your athletes. If you visit in the fall or winter, take the team to a NFL Cincinnati Bengal’s game at Paul Brown Stadium, also located along the Ohio River. Cincy even has an ECHL professional hockey team, Cincinnati Cyclones, for even more blood-pumping entertainment.
Aside from cheering on Cincinnati’s pro teams, the crown jewel of entertainment for sports families and adrenalin junkies is Mason’s Kings Island, the largest amusement park and water park in the Midwest. Experience thrill rides like the 5,282-foot, 80-mph Diamondback roller coaster, or The Beast that travels across a 35-acre site at 65 mph. Kids love Planet Snoopy and Dinosaurs Alive!, where 60 life-sized dinos spread across seven acres of Jurassic thrills. In KI’s Soak City, slides, wave pools and rushing rivers await.
And There’s More to Come…
In Warren County, Otterbein Park will debut in the coming years as an all-in-one walking community complete with fields and facilities within a retail environment.
Clermont County is building a new soccer field that will get 16 tournaments from Kings Hammer Soccer Academy, a sponsor. The CVB will share the soccer field with the UC-Clermont soccer team. Currently, they have 13 soccer fields at the site.
Stay tuned for more information on what’s popping up next; in the meantime, start planning your next sports event in Cincinnati and its surrounding region!