Located in the heart of the Appalachian region, West Virginia is known as the Mountain State. Its rigorous, rolling terrain make it an ideal spot for adventurous types looking to explore the outdoors through recreational activities like hiking, biking, whitewater rafting and skiing. It also draws a decent crowd for sporting events like football, basketball, baseball and soccer. West Virginia is home to some of the best collegiate, minor league and amateur sports teams, and features a number of quality facilities where sports planners can host tournaments.
Charleston Sports Venues
Sitting at the confluence of the Elk and Kanawha rivers, Charleston is the capital of West Virginia and the largest city in the state. It’s filled with a vast array of historic buildings, excellent museums and other tourist attractions.
“Charleston also is the gateway to wild and wonderful West Virginia activities,” says Jama Jarrett, director of communications for the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Not many cities can offer skiing, world-class zip-line canopy tours, whitewater rafting, ATV trails, golfing, hiking, fishing, boating, mountain biking and so much more within a short distance.”
Sports teams will also find that Charleston is a big sports and recreation town, with hundreds of public parks, stadiums and venues at which to play. The city makes it easy to host a sports tournament. “The Charleston area has 3,500 hotel rooms, 24 baseball fields, 16 softball fields, 17 football fields, 19 basketball courts, 45 soccer fields, 20 tennis courts, two lacrosse fields, eight golf courses and the University of Charleston stadium for AAU and USA track & field events,” says Jarrett.
Appalachian Power Park is home to the West Virginia Power class A baseball team, the affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. Located in downtown Charleston next to the Clay Center for Arts and Sciences, the park offers a convenient, fun and friendly environment for teams to play in. The facility seats 4,500 spectators, with a total capacity of 11,000.
Ten minutes from downtown Charleston is Coonskin Park, a 1,000-acre space full of woodland, hiking trails and plenty of other amenities. The park holds a golf course, an Olympic-size pool, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts and a soccer stadium. Schoenbaum Soccer Stadium, where the West Virginia Chaos team plays, features a full-size groomed field and enough seating for 2,000 spectators. It is equipped with lighting for evening games, just in case the tournament lasts into the night.
Magic Island Park is a five-acre island located near many hotels, shopping centers and dining establishments. Not only is it right in the heart of the action, but this Charleston sports venue is available year-round and plays host to many activities. It is the location of the annual SportsFEST, which brings in professional jet skiers and volleyball players from around the world.
Among Charleston’s many facilities, the University of Charleston Stadium at Laidley Field is certainly a popular option for sports planners. The multi-sport complex seats 18,500 spectators, and hosts numerous events for the college, including track and field competitions, football games, and majorette and band festivals.
Tournament Facilities in Huntington
Huntington sits on the Ohio River where West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky converge. The city boasts a strong railroad history, playing a big part in the expansion of rail in the Unites States. Huntington features hundreds of period-inspired structures that date back to its railroad days, but it has also worked on building up its modern amenities, especially in the downtown area. Its growth has included many sporting arenas and venues where local athletes can compete. Huntington’s sport scene is dominated by Marshall University as well as high school and amateur teams.
Marshall University is the heart and soul of Huntington sports. The Thundering Herd has acquired millions of loyal fans over the year, both locally and nationally. It is best known for its football team, which plays all its home games at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Originally built in 1991 with a capacity of 30,000, the stadium has grown to accommodate 38,016 fans, and the university plans to reach 55,000 with further expansions. It features a FieldTurf playing surface and a modern scoreboard that tracks game statistics and displays video. A training facility sits adjacent to the stadium, so teams have a place to warm up and prepare for their tournament.
The Veterans Memorial Fieldhouse has been around since 1950 and was built as a multipurpose facility that housed the Marshall University basketball team until their new arena was completed in 1981. The 8,500-seat facility has hosted hundreds of public high school basketball games and championships, and briefly housed the International Hockey League’s Huntington Hornets for one season. It is now used for various athletic events, mostly boxing, since that is the sport it was designed around when it was constructed. While there are more modern facilities in Huntington, the Fieldhouse has a classic, modest feel that many locals appreciate, which is why people keep coming back. However, there is talk of the venue being moved to Marshall University, so keep that in mind when planning your event.
A popular location for sports events in Huntington is Big Sandy Superstore Arena, a five-acre multi-sport complex that overlooks the Ohio River. It is home to Indoor Football League’s Huntington Hammer and also caters to a variety of other sports, including basketball, gymnastics, cheerleading, wrestling and indoor soccer.
If you venture back to the Marshall University campus, you will find even more facilities for any number of sporting events. The Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium is home to the swimming and diving team. The venue seats 800 people, features a movable bulkhead that transforms the pool into meter or yardage swim competitions, and includes state-of-the-art starting and timing systems.
Morgantown Sports Events
Located just south of the Mason Dixon Line, Morgantown is one of the biggest cities in the north-central part of West Virginia. It sits on the banks of the Monogahela River and is known for its Native American history and beautiful mountainous landscape. Morgantown is also a leading destination for sports thanks to its natural terrain and modern amenities. It was even named one of the best sports cities by The Sporting News. With a welcoming atmosphere, passionate locals and over 2,000 hotel rooms, Morgantown certainly provides everything sports planners could possibly need.
The city’s love of athletics can be attributed mostly to the University of West Virginia, which has a top sports program. Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium has a capacity of 60,000 and is the largest on-campus stadium in the Big East Conference. It is equipped with the latest video and audio technology, and the FieldTurf Duraspine makes for a safe and comfortable playing surface.
Morgantown Ice Arena and Sports Complex is a great place to participate in regular skating sessions as well as figure skating and hockey games. The ice rink is open from August to March, and in the summer it is switched to an all-purpose sports court. It is transformed into three full courts that can be used for volleyball, basketball, lacrosse and other activities.
One of the most popular locations in Morgantown is , which was built on an active surface mining operation for coal. The area features four lighted baseball and softball fields, a 53,000-square-foot exposition hall, a turf arena, and Miracle Sports Arena, with a completely rubberized sport surface for disabled athletes. The arena can seat 4,500 spectators and is equipped with state-of-the-art amenities.
A premier facility for sports events in Morgantown is the West Virginia University Coliseum, home to the college men’s and women’s basketball teams. The 14,000-seat venue is also home to the wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics teams. In addition, it features a dance studio, squash and racquetball courts, and a 3,000-square-foot weight room. The arena has undergone renovations over the years, meaning it is fully equipped with all the amenities needed for a successful tournament.
West Virginia is a recreational paradise with its mountainous landscapes and avid sports communities. This state offers everything sports planners could need or want when hosting a tournament, including top-of-the-line facilities, friendly service and reasonable accommodations. So venture over to the Mountain State to plan your next sports event.