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Is the tiny town of Round Rock, Texas challenging Blaine, Minnesota for amateur sports facility capital of the World?

blaineIn 2007, the City of Round Rock, Texas (pop. 105,000) allocated over $18 million to renovate 570 acres of Old Settlers Park to create: 3 miles of trails, 20 baseball fields (all lit), 5 softball fields (all lit), 2 football fields (lit), 5 soccer fields (lit), 14 small and 1/2 size soccer fields, 12 tennis courts (lit), 2 sand volleyball courts, one professional frisbee golf course, 7 playgrounds, 1 aquatic center.  

As part of this overhaul, they rebranded themselves “The Sports Capital of Texas.” And they seem to be happy with the new image.  This month they’re opening a $14.5 million 80,000 square foot indoor sports center that will feature 6 basketball/12 volleyball courts and 9 multi-purpose rooms with seating for up to 1,700 fans. Plus it will offer badminton, darts, fencing, powerlifting, rock climbing, dodge ball, archery, wrestling, martial arts, and table tennis.   

They’re also eying an outdoor expansion that includes:  $3 million for grass and landscaping improvements,  $11 Million for about a dozen general-use fields, and $5.5 Million for 5 new softball fields. 

Blaine, Minnesota (pop. 59,000) seems to be the current king. Their National Sports Center claims to be “The World’s Largest Amateur Sports and Meeting Facility.” (This claim is backed up by the Guinness Book of World Records.)  They have 52 outdoor soccer fields (which can be used for rugby or football), 8 ice hockey rinks, and indoor facility with about 80,000 square feet of artificial grass, and a velodrome.

Why all the fuss for amateur sports facilities?  Blaine’s NSC brings in over 4 million visitors a year for various tournaments and practices. It produces over $38 million of out-of-state economic impact annually. Out-of-state visitors generate $2.3 million of taxes to the state annually, and $800,000 in annual local taxes.


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