Charleston reaping the benefits of sports tourism

 Wednesday, June 13, 2018 


sports tourismGoose Creek in North Charleston has a new 9,000-square-foot gymnastics center.


Five ball fields of different sizes form the 20-acre Shipyard Park overlooking the Wando River off S.C. Highway 41.

North Charleston is setting new milestones as Lowcountry’s first aquatics center with an Olympic-size pool.

A Charleston-area businessman has plans to build a world-class indoor sports facility which will be attached to Citadel Mall.

Charleston is already a prized tourist destination; hence, it makes sense that families would want to travel here to watch their children compete in top sporting events and facilities, tourism officials said.

While Charleston is making strides as a destination for youth athletic events, it is still behind Myrtle Beach and Rock Hill.

“We’re not even close to what other areas have,” said Kathleen Cartland, executive director of the Charleston Area Sports Commission. “Just in the state of South Carolina, we constantly lose out on tournaments to other cities.”

Many tournament organizers are looking for bigger venues than what Charleston has to offer, Cartland said.

“The organizers want a minimum number of fields, like 12, in one location,” Cartland said. “We don’t come close to that, so we continue to miss out, simply because a lot of areas have built larger complexes.”

“Sports-cation” or “tourna-cation,” traveling for a child’s competition, has become Charleston’s own industry.

As the area’s only gym with capacity to accommodate a large crowd, Goose Creek aims to draw competitions to the area, said gymnastics coordinator Stacey Croston.

North Charleston would start construction on both the $25 million aquatics center and a $14 million gymnasium on Remount Road that will be able to host basketball and volleyball tournaments.


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