SportsEvents Magazine

SEP 2017

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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September 2017 16 Special Feature: CONVENTION CENTERS Wildwood Convention Center (WWC) in Wildwoods, N.J., is one example of a destination that uses its state-of-the-art facility to attract a variety of action-packed youth sports to the Atlantic City beach location each year. Since 2002, the Wildwoods has booked 2,079 groups for sports-related events, with attendance of more than 2.9 million athletes and fans to play or watch everything from basketball and gymnastics to mixed martial arts and cheerleading. Located on the world-famous Wildwood Boardwalk overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Wildwoods Convention Center offers flexible indoor and outdoor space that attracts sports events year after year. Boasting 260,000 square feet of space, the facility is flexible and its staff is inno- vative in reconfiguring the space to adapt to events as needed. The modern facility has hosted more than two dozen indoor sports events, including youth wrestling, basketball, gymnastics, band, cheerlead- ing, floor hockey and futsal (indoor soc- cer) tournaments since 2015, using the 75,000-square-foot exhibit hall which can be configured into two 37,500-square-foot areas while 30,000 square feet of lobby and pre-function space with ocean views and outdoor areas enable attendees to expand their events. The beach and ocean access provides an ideal backdrop and creates ample space for games such as beach soccer, lacrosse and Frisbee tournaments, in addition to track and field competitions. The Annual Cape Express Beach Soccer Tournament held in June is one of the largest co-ed beach soccer tournaments in the country with an estimated 20,000 participants, accord- ing to The Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority (GWTIDA). The GWTIDA operates the Wildwoods Convention Center on behalf of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the building's owner. It also serves as the barrier island's destination marketing organization, overseeing the development, research, planning, market- ing, advertising, promotion, and public and media relations for tourism, meeting and conventions in Wildwoods. "Youth sporting events excel at our unique seaside venue, amid the fun and excitement of the boardwalk and award-winning beaches," said John Siciliano, executive director of the GWTIDA. "We look forward to hosting the many young competitors and their fam- ilies through the year and continue to strive to make the Wildwoods a premiere youth sports destination venue." The beaches at Wildwoods also host an iconic youth sporting event in the National Marbles Tournament, in which champion marble shooters from across the country gather on the beach at Ringer Stadium to compete for the titles of King and Queen of Marbles. More than 1,200 games were played during the course of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament this past June. Other unique events at Wildwoods include the WWE Live SummerSlam Heatwave Tour, Sophisticated Productions National Dance Competition, the Ultimate Beach Frisbee Tournament and Baseball on the Beach. In all, the WCC attracts more than 150 events, meetings and trade shows through- out the year, bringing thousands of visitors to the state, filling 134,400 sleeping room nights, and tallying an annual economic impact of more than $50 million to the local economy. "The Wildwoods Convention Center has the ability to draw events to the region and due to the significant investment in the state-of-the-art facility, it has advanced New Jersey not only as a great place to vacation but as a great place to work, play and convene," said Cassidy Walsh, repre- senting the convention center for Suasion Communications Group. "With the Wildwoods' legendary beach- es and world-famous boardwalk just out- side its doors, the Wildwoods Convention Center offers something other venues can't: top-notch facilities surrounded by one of America's favorite family playgrounds," Walsh said. New to the Wildwoods youth event roster last year was the Bushido Open East National Martial Arts Championship. Featuring a multi-style open karate, kajukenbo, tae kwon do, kung fu, wushu, self-defense and Brazilian ju jitsu tourna- ment, children, teens and adults converged on the WWC for the world-class event for the unique tournament. Wildwood also boasts a two-mile boardwalk with rides, attractions and restaurants, and more than 180 free island-wide events and festivals each year to keep sports organizations and their families com- ing back for more. ► Wildwood Convention Center

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