South Carolina has a well-deserved reputation for its outstanding facilities that cater to virtually every indoor competition
The North Charleston Aquatic Center made a big splash in swimming competitions when it opened in July 2020. The 53,000-square-foot center had a construction cost of $23.5 million and the results are outstanding. There is a 10-lane, 50-meter competition pool and an eight-lane, 25-meter therapy pool for the athletes. The timing system is state-of-the-art, while the 10-foot-by-20-foot full-color scoreboard delivers results to the audience. Locker rooms are complete with showers. Spectator bleacher seating is approximately 1,000 with athlete bleacher seating at about 300.
The North Charleston Aquatic Center was built for swimming competition. No time was wasted as in October 2020 it began hosting several meets. In the beginning, the center hosted mostly state meets, including public and private school championships. An invitational meet attracted 600 swimmers and one swimmer made the Olympic Trials cut in the 100 Freestyle. Bids are in place now for regionals and masters events and more.
Rock Hill Sports and Event Center opened December 2019 and is owned, operated, maintained and programmed by the City of Rock Hill Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department. Already they’ve been no stranger to hosting big time events such as USA Volleyball Regional Championships, National Travel Basketball Winter National Championships, Big Shots National Basketball Championships and more.
The 170,000-square-foot facility is part of a mixed-use site connecting Winthrop University to Old Town Rock Hill, restaurants, outdoor venues, office space, apartments and more. The venue features a Championship Court of 12,500 square feet for basketball and volleyball with 1,200 stadium seats. The Championship Court can serve as one court or two side courts. The Main Court features either eight basketball courts or 16 volleyball courts on 72,000 square feet with 700 courtside permanent seats.
The recently renamed John T. Rhodes Myrtle Beach Sports Center is a 100,000-square-foot indoor sports facility that helped continue the growth in sports tourism in Myrtle Beach. The facility, celebrating its sixth anniversary in 2021, is centrally located in the City of Myrtle Beach adjacent to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. It is also near the Broadway at the Beach entertainment district, 2,500 hotel rooms and is several blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. The complex includes eight basketball courts or 16 volleyball courts, a café and retail area, several breakout meeting rooms and large multiscreen video wall. The center has 2,000 bleacher seats that can be utilized and configured for numerous indoor sports.
Annual events at the center include the Grand Strand Junior Winter Bump, NTBA Boys and Girls Nationals, Big Shots Myrtle Beach Championships, Coastal Classic Gymnastics and numerous other volleyball, basketball, cheer, dance and gymnastics competitions. Showing its versatility, the center has also hosted the ACL College Cornhole Championships, the NASP National Archery Open Championships, USA Handball Club Championships and the Myrtle Beach International Combine. The Myrtle Beach Convention Center offers 100,000 square feet of column-free exhibit hall space.
The convention center is home to cheer, dance, volleyball, wrestling events and the annual Beach Ball Classic high school basketball event. The 41st Annual Beach Ball Classic (BBC) and the 23rd United Bank Holiday Invitational (UBHI) will be held in December 2021.
The Colonial Life Arena in Columbia is the largest arena in the state of South Carolina with 18,000 seats, and the 10th largest on-campus basketball facility in the nation. Located on the beautiful University of South Carolina campus, this one-of-a-kind facility features 41 suites, four Entertainment Suites, and the Frank McGuire Club, a full-service hospitality room that will have a capacity of 300. The state-of-theart venue also features plush seating, a technologically advanced sound system, a four-sided video scoreboard, and a one-of-a-kind selection of unique foods at 10 concession stands are sure to delight fans of all ages.
Centrally located in South Carolina’s historic capital city, the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center is in the middle of a vibrant urban scene with dynamite eats, world-class attractions, breweries and a neverending roster of festivals and live music. Not to mention the affordable accommodations, exciting sporting venues, manageable traffic, and warmer weather year-round. And with three interstates that intersect the city and a regional airport, getting here is straightforward.
Built in 2004, the downtown convention center is a modern and architecturally significant complex. From magnificent receptions and cultural galas to corporate functions and international trade shows, the center is adaptable to the needs of most any event planner. The center is a 142,500-square-foot facility that includes a 16,700-square-foot ballroom, 18,560 square feet of meeting space that can be broken into as many as 19 different spaces, and a 23,700-square-foot column less exhibit hall. The center hosts most indoor sports events including cheer and dance, cornhole, flat-track roller derby, bodybuilding, grappling, weightlifting and others.
Located in the heart of downtown Greenville, the 285,000 square feet Bon Secours Wellness Arena is an ultramodern, 15,000-seat sports arena. Recognized as one of the top 50 venues in the world, the $63 million facility is one of the region’s top destinations, offering the ultimate atmosphere for sporting events. The facility is column-free with 25,877 square feet as the largest adjoining space. Team meeting rooms are on-site. In addition to being the home ice for the Greenville Swamp Rabbits hockey team (an affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes and Charlotte Checkers), the Bon Secours Wellness Arena has also hosted mat sports events like martial arts, wrestling, boxing, plus hockey, cheerleading and dance groups. Notable recent and upcoming events include the 2021 USA Taekwondo Regional Tournament, 2021 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament, 2021 AAU Karate National Championships, 2022 Bassmaster Classic, and a 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Preliminary Round.
Just minutes from downtown, the Greenville Convention Center (GCC) is one of the Southeast’s largest and more accommodating facilities. GCC offers 280,000 square feet of flexible event space, providing the perfect backdrop for tradeshows, conventions, conferences and special events. The largest connecting space is 25,877 square feet with team meeting rooms on site. Notable recent and upcoming events include, 2022 Bassmaster Classic and 2021 NC AAU and SC AAU Gymnastics Championships.
Take a look at all South Carolina facilities, indoor and outdoor on the following pages of the South Carolina Sports Guide. Learn more about the South Carolina Sports Alliance at discoversouthcarolina.com/sports-alliance.
By Dave Bodle