SportsEvents Magazine

MAY 2018

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

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May 2018 16 t SPECIAL Feature "Our region is home to the Boston Marathon start line and half of the mara- thon course, so we can handle pressure," said Susan Nicholl, executive director of MetroWest Visitors Bureau. "We know what it's like to have the eyes of the world on you and to be able to meet expectations of competitors and specta- tors." The area is also home to the New England Sports Center, the largest indoor skating facility in the United States, and Nicholl said big tournaments such as the U.S. Women's Nationals (figure skating) and international youth hockey tourna- ments find these small destinations per- fect in terms of facilities, accessibility, amenities and personalized service. With more than 155 soccer/lacrosse fields and 225 baseball/softball fields, there's no shortage of places to host a sporting event. "Because we are a smaller market, we really know every nook and cranny of our region," Nicholl said. "We can tell event planners the insider details that make such a difference, such as the best time of day to drive on different routes, the best person to ask for regarding a special request at a hotel, the most cre- ative place to get ice cream – yes, there's really a flavor called cilantro chardonnay. Event planners like to get a traditional feel for a region but they want modern amenities. That's MetroWest. Take one look around and you'll see that we trea- sure and preserve our New England past. And unlike many leisure destinations, MetroWest is quieter on the weekends so that means lodging availability is better and traffic is lighter." Travis Geiser, sports and events sales manager with the Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau, said Chester County, Pa., in the Brandywine Valley is less than an hour from Philadelphia and easily accessible to roughly a quarter of the U.S. population but more affordable for sports events. The small conference and visitors' bureau and local businesses pride them- selves on personalized service. Personalized Service "We just hosted a USA Hockey national championship and the hotel that hosted the winning team was ready for the team to arrive back to the hotel with pizza for the team and parents," Geiser said. "We'll welcome you in as family and long-term partners and not just another piece of business." As a small conference and visitors' bureau, Geiser said his team is able to act quickly to cater to most organizers' needs. And, he said, natural settings, equestrian venues, multiple ice rinks and a range of indoor and outdoor sports complexes, in addition to private and public schools such as West Chester University, allow for tournament growth and long-term goals. Gaelic football, lacrosse, soccer, ice hockey, equestrian events, basketball and curling are popular in this area and after the games, Geiser said visitors will also enjoy Longwood Gardens, the largest botanical garden in the country. Attracting more than 1.5 million people each year, the gardens feature iconic water fountains that rival the fountains in Las Vegas by integrating lighting, music and fire. In Williamsburg, Va., the areas' rich history, recreational sites and theme parks make the Greater Williamsburg Area one of the top 15 cities in the U.S. to visit, according to Travel & Leisure magazine, so it's no wonder sports teams play here. Williamsburg has hosted the National Softball Association Girls' Class A Fastpitch World Series and the Mudderella in Chester County, Pa. Jeff Rouse Swim Center in Stafford, Va. Chester County Conference & Visitors Bureau

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