SportsEvents Magazine

SEP 2017

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

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Page 17 of 59

September 2017 18 Special Feature: CONVENTION CENTERS "The sporting events at the WCC con- tinue to stand out among the competition and grow in diversity and number year after year," Walsh said. "The convention center can accommodate events up to 5,000 competitors with ease. Add to that a large number of hotel/motel rooms available at attractive off-season rates, plenty of great family restaurants, a two-mile boardwalk with hundreds of eateries, rides and attrac- tions and you have the perfect family loca- tion for hosting and attending any youth sporting event, any time of year." The Birmingham-Jefferson County Complex (BJCC) in Birmingham, Ala., recently hosted the 2017 National Senior Games, attracting more than 11,000 ath- letes to the city and complex for the 14-day event. More than 25,000 people visited the city over the course of the two weeks, which saw seniors from across the country participate in sports such as pickleball, bas- ketball, horse shoes, volleyball, swimming, running and tennis using sports facilities, the convention center complex, downtown roads and parks, and other traditional meet- ing spaces. The Games drew national attention to the Southern city, according to David Galbaugh, vice president of sports sales and marketing for the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau. The BJCC will host The World Games 2021. A delegation of officials recently returned from Poland where 4,500 athletes competed. The trip gave Birmingham del- egates a first-hand look at the scope of the international event. The BJCC has 220,000 square feet of exhibit space in the heart of downtown near the municipal, financial and business district, and will host a variety of sporting events either in the 18,000-seat Legacy Arena or in other meeting space on the campus. With 100,000 square feet of space available in 74 meeting rooms, the 3,000- seat concert hall, a 1,000-seat theater and a 274-seat forum theater, plus the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel with 770 guest rooms, the facility attracts groups that appreciate being able to stay in one location. The Westin Birmingham Hotel also adjoins the facility and offers an additional 294 guestrooms. The complex is situated in the Uptown Entertainment District which offers six restaurants and a coffee shop, while the facility offers complete in-house catering services and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. "The benefits of having everything in one place is that you have an opportunity to go right out the doors to entertainment and dining, and that's a real plus," Galbaugh said. In the past year, the facility has hosted several major sporting events, includ- ing the U.S. Davis Cup, the winner of which advanced to the World Group Quarterfinals. It was the first time in eight years that the event chose Birmingham and city officials are hopeful that it will return, as tennis is growing in popularity in the area. The WBC World Heavyweight Championship fight was held in the Legacy Arena in February. In addition, the facility has hosted the Conference USA Men's and Women's Basketball tournaments for the past three years and continues to host state basketball tournaments, Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball tournaments, vol- leyball and the Bassmaster Classic. "Boutwell Auditorium is also nearby and the annual Mercedes Marathon uses that facility for packet pickups, competition registration, a post-race party and other activities, and clearly why it's chosen is because it is close to the convention center and is in a perfect location for the half and marathon," Galbaugh said. "We are a sports-enthusiastic town and I think that we have the facilities and resources to produce great events for sports planners," Galbaugh said. "We love to have sports groups in Birmingham." The Hawaii Convention Center (HCC) added sports courts to the facility to accommodate premier athletic events such as the AAU Honolulu Grand Prix women's volleyball tournament, which was held February 18 – 20 in the Kamehameha Exhibit Halls. The event welcomed 2,000 attendees, including spectators, families and female athletes ranging in age from 12 to 18 years old, coming from the mainland and across Hawaii. The $1.1 million invest- ment was used to purchase fully portable sports courts, which can be configured to simultaneously stage up to 28 regula- tion volleyball or badminton matches, 18 high school basketball games or 11 futsal games. HCC also acquired a regulation NBA- and NCAA-approved basketball court with a solid wood floor. "These new sports courts are an ► Hawaii Convention Center

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