SportsEvents Readers’ Choice Awards: All-Star Outdoor Sports Venue

1st – River City Sportsplex – Midlothian, Virginia 

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.

More than 500,000 people visit the facility each year, and 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, and 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 been held 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.”

2nd – Ballparks of America – Branson, Missouri 

Ballparks of America is a premier 10U-14U youth baseball and softball facility in Branson, Mo. More than 9 million visitors head to Branson each year to enjoy rollercoasters, concerts, museums, and shows and outdoor recreation such as hiking trails, boating, and tournaments add to the recreation and sports offerings.

The complex offers campus stay and play suites, two-thirds-scale replica fields of classic American ballparks, and the latest technology to make playing ball in Branson consistent year-round.

Since opening in 2016, Ballparks of America has produced an estimated $50 million in economic impact for the Branson area.

With synthetic turf, covered dugouts, bullpen areas, Musco lighting, and stadium-style seating at various fields, players and fans have the whole MLB experience.

Ballparks of America is a member of the SFM Network of sports facilities and hosts baseball and softball tournaments.

The complex attracts teams from across the U.S. and internationally with events such as the Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth Major 70 World Series in August and a full summer tournament season, which keeps the Ballparks of America at capacity.

“All the staff at Ballparks of America were excited to be nominated alongside some other great outdoor sports venues all over the country,” said Bailey Vassalli, marketing coordinator for Ballparks of America. “Of course, we were even more excited to learn our venue was a winner. At Ballparks of America, we are confident in our ability to give athletes a chance to experience a tournament like no other, and we hope this can help solidify us as a premier destination for youth baseball.”

3rd – Andrew L. Fabens Memorial Park – Huron, Ohio

Andrew L. Fabens Memorial Park is owned and operated by the City of Huron, Ohio and includes nine baseball and softball fields, five tennis courts, two batting cages, a nature trail, a playground area, three shelters, picnic tables, grills and a concession stand and restrooms. The park also includes a pedestrian/biking trail.

Honorable Mentions:

Panama City Beach Sports Complex – Panama City Beach, Florida

Elizabethtown Sports Park – Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Hickory Point Sand Volleyball Complex – Tavares, Florida

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

Wilson Morgan Park – Decatur, Alabama

Austin Tindell Sports Complex – Kissimmee, Florida

Sandusky Bay – Sandusky, Ohio

National Sports Center – Blaine, Minnesota