Walnut Creek Emerges as a New Sports Destination

By Kelsey Ogletree, April 20, 2017

Last summer, Scott Slocum—a hospitality guy who’d thus far spent his career working in hotels—stepped into new shoes: regional director of sales and marketing for the newly formed Walnut Creek (California) CVB.

It’s a challenging role, no doubt (“Where is Walnut Creek?” is a question he hears often), but now he’s out to show why this emerging city 25 miles east of San Francisco might be just the place for sports planners looking for something new and different.

With Slocum leading the charge, the CVB had a lot of work to do in the first year: Create a new logo, website, collateral, photography and video, to start. “It’s been a lot of work but a lot of fun,” says Slocum. “We’ve had good success in terms of bookings and getting awareness out in the events industry.”

While regional associations have been a natural fit for the area, the sports market is an emerging one for Walnut Creek. A large new sportsplex, Shadelands SportsMall, will soon be a one-stop shop in the Bay Area for tournaments when it opens in 2017.

Housed in the former Contra Costa Times newspaper building, this sports training mecca will include facilities for soccer, gymnastics, swimming, baseball, volleyball, taekwondo and yoga. It also includes the Ultimate Fieldhouse, which opened in January 2016 with four full-length basketball courts, a separate training court with five baskets and shooting machines for practice. Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry recently put on a clinic there.

Walnut Creek does not have a convention center, but it does have three full-service hotels: a Renaissance, a Marriott and an Embassy Suites, providing accommodations for groups of 100 to 300 people. For entertainment post-game or for families in tow, the upscale, open-air shopping mall Broadway Plaza has more than 50 restaurants and shops. Nearby Mount Diablo also serves as terrific terrain for hiking and biking around the area.

Holly Anderson, a key player in the sports tourism industry for more than a decade, has been promoted to lead Connect Sports.

Connect Sports and SportsPittsburgh and proud to announced the 2019 Game Changers—event professionals who continue to drive sports tourism forward.

U.S. Figure Skating is currently seeking proposals to host its 2021 Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships. RFPs are due Sept. 30.

Legendary triathlete and coach Siri Lindley will discuss her experiences and insight at Connect Sports as part of the speaker showcase.

Interim Director Craig Campbell says St. Pete/Clearwater Sports & Events is turning its focus to the community’s No. 1 resource: the beach.

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