Officials: Initial sports center bookings will surpass projected goals

Rendering of what the Virginia Beach sports center could look like (Courtesy of Eastern Sports Management via the City of Virginia Beach)
Rendering of what the Virginia Beach sports center could look like. (Courtesy of Eastern Sports Management via the City of Virginia Beach)

VIRGINIA BEACH — With more than a year to go before the ribbon is cut and the doors are opened to the public, sports event commitments at the new Virginia Beach Sports Center are expected to surpass anticipated booking goals.

The Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Sports Marketing team has secured commitments for more than 22 new events to take place at the Virginia Beach Sports Center during the first year of operation, CVB officials said.

More than 41,000 athletes are expected to compete during year one in a variety of sports including track, basketball, wrestling, field hockey, volleyball and gymnastics.

“The CVB’s Sports Marketing sales team is excited about our new sports center and their energy shows in their hard work, said CVB Sports Marketing Director Nancy Helman. “Their incredible progress booking the VBSC is a testament to their passion and dedication.”

During their 2019 symposium, the National Association of Sports Commissions cited the sports tourism industry as being valued at $11.4 billion. Host city competition is at an all-time high and new products, like the VBSC, provide a competitive edge, CVB officials said.

“We’re excited to bring our Teammate Basketball National Championship to the Virginia Beach Sports Center in June 2021,” said Blake Thompson, owner of Teammate Basketball. “The new facility’s features and world-class amenities are a perfect match for what we look for when deciding on a host location.”

Teammate Basketball is a grassroots organization whose mission is to help youth through “quality basketball events while positively impacting the communities in which they’re held.” The 2021 event will mark the Virginia debut of this national championship.

The Virginia Beach Sports Center is under construction directly across the street from the 500,000-square-foot Virginia Beach Convention Center.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.