The Article Below Appeared in the 2019 Sports Planning Guide. Get the Whole Edition Here

The United States Sports Congress, the most innovative conference in the sports event industry, announced its 2019 annual event will take place in Columbia, the capital city of South Carolina. The conference will take place Dec. 9-11, 2019, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, a facility centrally located in the city. Built in 2004, the 142,500-square-foot convention center is a modern and architecturally significant complex that has played host to some of the most impressive events in the Southeast. The congress will be another addition to its hosting legacy.

“Columbia has that unique southern charm, steeped in history with a mix of looking toward the future,” said Lou Mengsol, president of the US Sports Congress. “You’ll see this in their downtown historic buildings and progressive food scene. Their convention center is a great example of this. Set among the historic buildings, you see this beautifully modern facility and somehow, it just works. It’s one of the things that attracted us to this destination and is sure to influence our program.”

The congress is built on the credo that relationships drive business, so sessions are structured in a collaborative fashion while networking events and an interactive trade show allow for a free flow of conversation and ideas. This gives attendees an opportunity to construct bonds that aren’t possible at traditional 10-minute appointment-based shows.

The congress attracts top-level decision-makers from the world of amateur sports and sporting events. The attendees of this conference are senior level executives who represent sports rights holders and Olympic national governing bodies, the destinations who desire to host their events, along with many suppliers to the industry.

“We are truly thrilled to be hosting the US Sports Congress in December 2019,” said Scott Powers, executive director of Experience Columbia SC Sports. “The congress will cap off an amazing 2019 for Columbia as we will be hosting events like the S.C. Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel, March Madness, LuLaRoe Leadership Meeting, Southern Gas Association Spring Meeting & Expo and the Mayors Innovation Project, just to name a few.”

Columbia is the second largest city in South Carolina and features several shopping districts, a recently revitalized downtown, a delectable food scene and a distinct public art collection, which ranges from outdoor sculpture and maker spaces to murals and a laser installation.

“One of the most exciting parts about hosting the US Sports Congress will be getting the opportunity to showcase why Columbia is the real southern hot spot to attendees who either have never made a trip to Columbia or have not been to Columbia in several years,” Powers said. “Attendees will get the opportunity to experience our diverse culinary scene, unexpected outdoor excursions and bustling entertainment districts. From ziplining at the zoo to taking in an art exhibit, playing a round of golf, going on a history tour or visiting one of our many craft breweries, Columbia offers fun for all ages.”

Among Columbia’s highlights are the Town Theatre, the country’s oldest community theater in continuous use; the Columbia Marionette Theatre, which is the only freestanding theater in the nation devoted entirely to marionette arts; and the South Carolina State Museum, a comprehensive museum that contains exhibits in science, technology, history and the arts. It is the state’s largest museum and one of the largest museums in the southeast.

Another popular destination in Columbia is the Congaree Vista, a cosmopolitan section of the city near the banks of the Congaree River. This section includes many small, upscale shops and restaurants, often in renovated warehouse buildings.

“I think more than anything, our attendees will be surprised by Columbia,” Mengsol said. “Every street and turn, there is something different from their food scene and craft breweries to music and nightlife. All you need to do is walk down the Vista and you see all these things. Best of all, it’s just steps from our host hotel.”

Columbia can be accessed through the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, five miles southwest of the city.

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