It’s game on, 2019—and we have 19 sporting events to prove it. Mark your calendar for these exciting and eclectic events.
First to the Finish New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament
Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut, will host 5,000 youth volleyball players across 456 teams over two weekends in January. Formerly the Mizuno New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament, the 2019 First to the Finish New England Winterfest Volleyball Tournament is a goldmine for the region, as more than 18,000 visitors are expected. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend action alone is scheduled to attract 232 teams of 16- to 18-year-old players.
Super Bowl LIII
was built to the host the Super Bowl. In its second year, the world-class facility will be in the spotlight on Feb. 3, just as it was when hosting the College Football Playoff Championship in 2018. Next year brings the Final Four. The team at the Atlanta CVB is busy working toward turning these marquee events into future business.
Maine Pond Hockey Classic
What began in 2013 with 14 teams on China Lake and has quickly grown into one of Maine’s biggest winter events. Now in its 6th year, the Feb. 8-10 event in Sidney is expected to include more than 80 teams and is a veritable winter festival. Eight rinks will be used and there will be a beer garden, fire pits, music and a Polar Bear dip for the brave at heart.
NAIA Wrestling National Championships
Few states are as known for wrestling as Iowa, making Des Moines
a natural fit for NAIA’s championships March 1-2. This is a homecoming, as the city previously hosted the event in 2012 and 2013. The state of Iowa has previously welcomed the NAIA Wrestling National Championships nine times in association history. Prior to the previously mentioned stops in Des Moines, the event found a home in Cedar Rapids in 2011 and Sioux City from 2005 to 2008. Sioux City also hosted the championships in 1973 and 1975.
U.S. Alpine Speed Championships
From March 16-21, the best alpine skiers in the nation will ski down Narrow Gauge in downhill, super-G and alpine combined events in Sugarloaf, Maine. Narrow Gauge trail, which was also the site of a 1971 FIS World Cup event, is no stranger to alpine championships following successful events in 1996, 1997, 2006, 2008, 2015 and 2017. But this will be the first official “U.S. Alpine Speed Championships” with downhill, super-G and alpine combined events.
WWE’s largest extravaganza has outgrown its original host, Madison Square Garden, but maintains its connections to the New York area on April 7. WrestleMania will take place at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, though several ancillary events will occur at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. The event has generated more than $100 million
for host cities over the past several years. Expect to see Connect Sports keynote, John Cena, make an appearance.
US Quidditch Cup
The Round Rock CVB
pulled a rabbit out of its hat last year by scoring the US Quidditch Cup. For an encore, it will make the event re-appear April 12-14 at Round Rock Multipurpose Complex. The 2018 championship was the second largest quidditch event on record, following World Cup V in New York City in 2011.
Modeled after the Arnold Sports Festival
in Columbus, Ohio, this 27-sport event, in its fourth year, is expected to bring more than 25,000 attendees to Salt Palace Convention Center on April 12-13. Clay Partain
, CSEE, director of sports market sales at Visit Salt Lake, expects an economic impact of more than $3 million.
As its name suggests, this first-time event in Columbus, Ohio, is exclusive. But the participants will be a mighty few—20 male and 20 female athletes, plus 10 teams competing in a separate division May 18 and 19. A CrossFit Games
sanctioned event, Rogue will feature the top 10 male and female finishers from the 2018 Reebok CrossFit Games, along with a select number of additional athletes from the top ranks of the sport.
The global esports series will make Dallas its home May 31 to June 2. Atlanta is the only other U.S. city to host the event this year. Beyond tournaments in games like Counter-Strike
, there will be an expo, live music and cosplay.
Perfect Game Events Series
This summer, Perfect Game, Inc., throws the first pitch in a three-year agreement with Orlando North, Seminole County Sports Tourism. In the deal, four national level events will be played at BOOMBAH Sports Complex in Sanford, Florida, including the 9U-12U Super25 National Championship/16U PG World Series Qualifier June 20-24 and the 13U/15U Super National Championship, which will take place July 5-9.
Qatar Airways New York City E-Prix
The atmosphere is electric in Brooklyn for this annual racing event, in its third year, occurring July 13-14. Cars hit speeds unheard of in New York—140 miles per hour—as they navigate 14 turns along the waterfront. There’s no time for participants to admire the Manhattan skyline, but spectators will appreciate the unique backdrop.
Nautique WWA Wakeboard National Championships
The biggest event in wakeboarding begins July 25 in Monroe, Washington
. Amateur and professional competitors, ages 7 to 55, will participate over the course of four days, hoping to be crowned national champions.
WNBA All-Star Game
Mandalay Bay Events Center is coming up aces, as in the Las Vegas Aces. The WNBA team launched in 2018 and is hosting the All-Star Game July 27, another sign that Las Vegas is becoming a professional sports capital.
RSL Soccer Showcase
Real Salt Lake didn’t complete a new soccer facility to see it sit idle. The inaugural RSL Soccer Showcase should draw 200 international teams to Salt Lake Aug. 7-10, with more in the following years. Teams from Mexico, Canada and Europe have already committed to attend.
Ride Across Wisconsin
Things are looking up for the fifth incarnation of this statewide bicycle ride. A new course moves cyclists along a northern route, beginning in La Crosse and concluding in Green Bay. About 800 participants are expected to ride Aug. 16-18.
National Hockey Festival
The new 15-field Tournament SportsPlex of Tampa Bay was impressive enough to convince Justin Miller and the USA Field Hockey team to bring their largest event
there in year one. About 3,000 young athletes will fill 10,000 room nights in Tampa, marking the beginning of a beautiful relationship between the NGB and destination.
USA Track & Field National Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships
Madison, home to the 2018 NCAA Cross Country National Championships, will be running wild with USATF National Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships Dec. 14. Yahara Hills Golf Course will host 3,000 athletes for the event, making its way to Wisconsin for the first time.
WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship
Washington’s Ronald Reagan Building is no stranger to international events, but it’s safe to say this elite squash completion is a first. It will be home to three days of exhibition matches and a championship dinner. But the event is really a showcase for Squash on Fire, a relatively new venue that revolutionized the sport with its pay-as-you-go-model. The 19,700-sq.-ft. facility includes eight championship courts.