VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) — Virginia Beach held an opening ceremony Thursday for its $68-million Sports Center — just over two years after City Council voted to fund the project.

City leaders hope the state-of-the-art facility will help kickstart sports tourism in the area after the coronavirus pandemic brought a big hit to the industry.

The complex is right across the street from the convention center, not far from the Oceanfront. It will open officially Oct. 10.

The Virginia Beach Sports Center is not only an asset for tourism in Virginia Beach, it’s an asset for the Hampton Roads region.

“There is such an array of all that not only for Virginia Beach, but also for the region and, frankly, the state,” said Nancy Helman, the Virginia Beach director of sports marketing. Hotels and restaurants are nearby, which are also an attraction to the site.

The modern facility will host tournaments and other athletic events. Inside there are 12 basketball courts, 24 volleyball courts and a 200-meter hydraulic track.

The track is one of a handful in the nation. There is enough seating for 5,000 spectators but with the pandemic, watching sports inside may look different. The Sports Center will host national tournaments for basketball, volleyball, track and field, wrestling, gymnastics, field hockey, and everything else in between like pickleball and corn hole tournaments.

The goal is to have activities in the building every day.

“It’s really a chance for our athletes to compete in a world-class facility. It’s also a chance to join leagues, have events, and for our local constituents to come into this building and experience it,” Helman said.

When it comes to coronavirus precautions, Helman said they are closely following the governor’s guidelines.

“We have a COVID-19 mitigation plan and safety is our number one priority. We are teaming up with event vendors to make sure that their activity events are safe,” Helman said.

Right now, indoor sports are on hold.

The good news is — most events are postponing and rescheduling rather than canceling.

“We constantly are working with event owners to establish mitigation plans and working with them to identify ways that they can host their event. Whether it’s working with them on scheduling to ensure there’s not too many people in a venue at on time, working with them on social distancing while in the facilities and that sort of thing.”

The venue’s first scheduled event is for November.

If you want to find out more on this facility that officially opens October 10, go to the Sports Center website.

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