VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — On Thursday, the doors opened to the brand new Virginia Beach Sports Center.
The sports center is near the Convention Center in the ViBe Creative District.
The $68 million center is designed to be flexible, with indoor courts ready for basketball, volleyball, and other sports tournaments. The 285,000-square-foot building can seat up to 5,000 people.
The sports complex was paid for with tourism dollars and not the general fund.
“Our talented sports marketing team has already booked 54 events for year one alone and 39 of those commitments are new to our market," said Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer.
Sports Center staff explain this center is going to bring in sports teams from across the county, and they also want this to be a place for the local public to use.
City leaders have high hopes that the center will help local businesses and hotels along the oceanfront.
“You know, the hospitality industry has suffered throughout the pandemic and the hope is that we’re going to be back to normal or somewhat normal in the near future and teams coming in and filling hotels," said Oceanfront's Sheraton Hotel Catering Manager Nancy Rosen.
Right now, staff are gearing up for those sporting events and preparing to follow Governor Ralph Northam's COVID-19 restrictions.
"We have COVID mitigation plans for every event that's coming into this building," said Nancy Helman, the Director of Sports Marketing. "Safety is our number one priority and we're working with event owners right now to come up with actual plans."