96 • Sports TravelMagazine.com October/November 2017
has three soccer fields, four softball
fields, one adult baseball field and five
youth baseball fields.
The new D’Iberville Sports Complex
is scheduled to open this fall with four
lighted multipurpose fields and four
lighted baseball/softball fields.
In Gulfport, the 250-acre Gulfport
Sportsplex is expanding to add six new
synthetic turf baseball fields, bringing
the total of diamonds to 15, and two
additional stadium-style grass soccer
fields for a total of six soccer and multipurpose fields.
Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast represents 12 casino hotel properties, and
American Star Field at MGM Park in
Biloxi is home to the Biloxi Shuckers,
the Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The park served as the
finish line and festival grounds for the
inaugural Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon in December.
Also in Biloxi, the Mississippi Coast
Coliseum and Convention Center has
400,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space and an 9,000-seat arena. The
center hosts a variety of indoor sporting
events, such as the 2017 National Veterans Golden Age Games, which drew
783 contestants to compete in air rifle,
pickleball, badminton, table tennis, bocce, shuffleboard, horseshoes, basketball
and nine-ball pocket billiards.
The coast “is a venue itself because
you can do all kinds of cool stuff” such
as beach volleyball, open-water swims
and fishing tournaments, Mackay said.
The 2017 Mercury Southern Kingfish
Association National Championship
will be held in Biloxi in October.
New Orleans, Louisiana
In 2018, New Orleans will celebrate its
tricentennial. A strong sense of history, combined with the city’s venues,
make New Orleans a sports destination, according to Jay Cicero, president
and CEO of the Greater New Orleans
“We have more history with major
events, and we have the infrastructure
that every other city tries to imitate,”
he said. “The fans want to come here,
Over the past 30 years, efforts to de-
55-acre district that’s home to Mer-tival plaza, the Ernest N. Morial Con-the city has 20,000 downtown hotel
Quarter. “You combine all these assets
In New Orleans, “football is king,”
he said. The Superdome is home to the
NFL’s New Orleans Saints. The city has
hosted the Super Bowl 10 times, and
officials are hoping for 11. The Superdome is also the venue for the Sugar
Bowl, the Bayou Classic and the R+L
Carriers New Orleans Bowl. It also will
welcome the 2020 College Football
Playoff championship game. Tulane
University has Yulman Stadium on
campus. “There’s a lot of football that
happens in our town,” Cicero said.
As part of the city’s tricentennial
celebration, the Superdome will host
five days of events for the 2018 WWE
WrestleMania 34. In 2014, more than
75,000 WWE fans filled the Superdome
for WrestleMania 30.
The NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans
College baseball “is very big in south
Louisiana,” Cicero said, and Tulane and
the University of New Orleans “both
have wonderful on-campus facilities.”
The Triple-A New Orleans Baby
Cakes, a Miami Marlins affiliate, play at
the 10,000-seat Shrine on Airline park.
In the South, it pays to look beyond
the familiar tradition to discover everything that its destinations have to
offer—a place may be famous for one
thing, but that doesn’t mean that’s all
it can do. These cities have a plethora of facilities, including new and expanding sports complexes, modern
convention centers, major arenas and
professional stadiums, as well as plentiful natural resources. n
> The New Orleans Saints play home games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.