SportsEvents Readers’ Choice Awards: All-Star Multipurpose Sports Venue or Complex

1st – Rocky Top Sports World – Gatlinburg, Tennessee 

Rocky Top Sports World is an 80-acre sports complex in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in the Great Smoky Mountains’ heart.

A member of the SFM Network, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing network of sports facilities, Rocky Top Sports World is operated and managed by SFM.

“Rocky Top Sports World is honored to be receiving a 2021 Readers’ Choice Award,” said Jim Downs, general manager. “Being recognized as a top facility while the sport tourism industry continues to grow speaks to our team’s efforts to continue to provide the highest quality experience to event owners and attendees alike.”

With seven outdoor fields and an 86,000-square-foot indoor venue equipped with either six basketball courts or 12 volleyball courts, the facility hosts memorable events for tournament planners, coaches, teams, and spectators with the backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, according to Mackenzie King, marketing and sponsorship manager of Rocky Top Sports World.

2nd – River City Sportsplex – Midlothian, Virginia 

More than 500,000 people visit the River City Sportsplex each year.

The River City Sportsplex is a 115-acre, 12 field sports facility owned and operated by Chesterfield County. The facility is available year-round for residents and tournament and event participants.

The Virginia location is a six-hour drive for approximately 30 million people with convenient access to the Richmond International Airport and major population centers along the mid-Atlantic.

The facility is home to one of the largest pods of synthetic turf facilities in the United States, and all fields have lighting. With two concession/restroom facilities and plaza space, the facility has Wi-Fi and electrical connections in common areas and plazas.

Purchased by Chesterfield County in December 2016, the facility has been transformed into a premier tournament venue in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region. Sports such as soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, and football are played here. In 2019, River City hosted the Spikeball Nationals.

This year River City expects to host Turf Wars, a large kickball festival. Elite regional and national events such as the Jefferson Cup and the CCL College Showcase, both soccer tournaments, in addition to the IWLCA Champions Cup for lacrosse and the Shooting Star Thanksgiving field hockey tournament have played here.

“We are thrilled that River City Sportsplex continues to be recognized as a top facility in the country,” said Robert Smet, Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation director. “The facility has made Chesterfield the ultimate sporting destination in the region and one of the best sporting complexes in Virginia.”

The complex is located near more than 10 hotels within a 10-mile drive and more than 50 hotels within a 20-mile drive.

Kings Dominion is just 35 miles from the complex and offers the largest collection of rollercoasters on the East coast.

3rd – ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – Kissimmee, Florida

According Disney’s Darrell Fry, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort is a 220-acre venue widely regarded as the leading facility for youth sports in America.

The complex located in Kissimmee, Florida, provides space for more than 60 different sports 70 countries have participated since opening more than 20 years ago.

The complex is the preeminent multisport facility for professional, collegiate, and youth sports events of all levels, Fry said.

Designed to provide professional, amateur, and youth athletes with the same experience synonymous with names like “Disney” and “ESPN.” The complex features multiple competition venues, including 18 multipurpose outdoor fields for football, soccer, and lacrosse. A Major League ballpark with 16 diamonds is available for baseball and softball, and three fieldhouses are available for basketball, volleyball, dance and cheer. The HP Field House, Visa Athletic Center and The Arena, which opened in 2018, is an 8,000-seat building designed with cheerleading and dance competitions.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind ESPN-enhanced sports experience at the leading multisports venue in the nation, combined with a family vacation at the world’s number one vacation destination,” said Fry. “It leaves guests feeling that they’ve created extraordinary memories that will last a lifetime.”

The facility hosts major events such as the NBA Pre-Draft Camp, the Tampa Bay Rays regular season games, the Atlanta Braves spring training games, the Orlando Magic training camp and more.

Honorable Mentions:

Sports Force Parks at Cedar Point Sports Center – Sandusky, Ohio

Youngsville Sports Complex – Youngsville, Louisiana

ERIEBANK Sports Park – Erie, Pennsylvania

Wilson Morgan Park – Decatur, Alabama

WRAL Soccer Park – Raleigh, North Carolina

Round Rock Multipurpose Complex – Round Rock, Texas

National Sports Center – Blaine, Minnesota