Tennessee may be known for its vibrant music culture and historic homes, but the state is also gaining traction as a leading meeting and event destination. The state’s picturesque midsize towns often provide excellent facilities for affordable prices, making them a good choice for amateur sporting events.
Women’s basketball is one of the most celebrated sports in Tennessee. Groups can visit the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, which commemorates the achievements of female basketball players from around the world. Knoxville has hosted premier events such as USA Cycling competitions, Rev3 Triathlon, AAU Junior Olympic Games and the USA Diving National Championship. The Thompson-Boling Arena, home of the University of Tennessee men’s and women’s basketball teams, is the second-largest campus basketball facility in the nation.
Known as the Sports Capital of Tennessee, Rutherford County caters to a broad spectrum of sports, including soccer, baseball, football, golf, tennis, track and field, volleyball, cheerleading, disc golf and equestrian events. The city was named one of the best sports cities in the United States by Sporting News and one of Livability.com’s Top 10 Soccer Cities.
The 137-acre Richard Siegel Soccer Complex is one of Rutherford County’s largest sports venues, comprising 15 soccer fields and a championship soccer stadium. Tennis players will find all the space they need at the Adams Tennis Complex, which has 24 outdoor tennis courts and eight indoor courts. Rutherford County also opened the state’s first two FootGolf courses; the sport combines soccer and golf.
A few other notable venues can be found in Franklin. The AG Expo Center hosts around 45 major events each year, from volleyball matches to high school rodeo tournaments and wrestling championships. Jim Warren Park encompasses a 48-acre property with 12 baseball fields, four football fields, eight tennis courts, walking trails, playgrounds and more.
Renowned for its rugged natural beauty, Utah is a haven for active travelers, drawing thousands of visitors each year to its magnificent ski slopes and mountain biking trails. The state is also home to the “Mighty Five” national parks — Zion, Arches, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Bryce Canyon — which some consider the most outstanding collection of national parks in the country.
Utah played host to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, and sports groups can take advantage of the world-class facilities in nearby communities where many of these prestigious events took place, including Utah Olympic Park, Utah Olympic Oval, Peaks Ice Arena, Deer Valley Resort and Soldier Hollow.
Utah Olympic Park is in Park City, about 30 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. During the Olympic Games, the park hosted bobsled, skeleton, luge and Nordic ski jumping events. Visitors can tour an on-site museum, take on an aerial adventure challenge and even ride down the Olympic tracks in a bobsled with a professional pilot. Originally designed to host Olympic speed-skating competitions, the nearby Utah Olympic Oval now serves as a multipurpose recreational complex; groups that visit can practice curling, hockey and competitive skating. The Peaks Ice Arena in Provo is another popular venue for skating and ice hockey.
In Ogden, the Dee Events Center at Weber State University is the largest multipurpose arena in Utah north of Salt Lake City and one of the foremost basketball facilities in the West. It has hosted several Big Sky Championships, NCAA tournaments and high school competitions over the years. The Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy offers an excellent open-air venue for concerts, corporate events and amateur soccer games.
The Golden State enjoys unparalleled athletic credentials, boasting some of the most respected college sports programs in the United States. In addition to having hosted the Olympic Games four times, California now houses 19 major professional sport franchises, as well as many of the finest sports facilities available.
Within minutes of Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, the 242,000-square-foot American Sports Center is the largest indoor court facility in the world. The complex contains 34 volleyball courts that can be converted into 25 basketball courts, as well as nine indoor soccer or futsal courts. Nearby, groups can also visit or book an event at the Angel Stadium of Anaheim, one of America’s most historic ballparks.
Based in Oceanside on a beautiful 97-acre property, the SoCal Sports Complex is considered one of the most distinguished soccer, lacrosse and rugby venues on the West Coast. The complex entails 21 full-size multisport fields that host numerous tournaments throughout the year, such as the famous San Diego Surf Cup.
Though smaller than some of the state’s other sports venues, the Twin Creeks Sports Complex in Sunnyvale offers more versatility; the 10 synthetic turf fields, prelined for flag football, lacrosse, soccer and softball, can be transformed into baseball fields as well. In Norco, the 130-acre SilverLakes Sports Complex includes 24 full-size soccer fields, five equestrian arenas, a 250-seat restaurant and a concert venue, providing a scenic retreat for everything from car shows to weddings and equestrian competitions.
Just 20 minutes from Long Beach and Anaheim, the Next Level Sports Complex Orange County in Garden Grove offers a spacious indoor facility with 11 hardwood basketball courts that can be converted into 14 volleyball courts and four turf fields for soccer.