(Caption: Polartec Big Air at Fenway Park)
Massachusetts is a powerhouse when it comes to sports. Since the 19th century, when amateur and professional sports became one of America’s abiding passions, the Bay State has been at the forefront of producing great athletes and great sports teams.
Just a few early examples: basketball was invented in Springfield, and volleyball was invented in Holyoke. At the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the ten Boston athletes who competed won 15 of the 20 US medals. The following year, in 1897, the Boston Marathon began its run as the oldest marathon race in the world.
Jump to the 21st century: Massachusetts five professional sports teams have won a total of ten championships so far in the century. And Massachusetts continues to stage some of the great athletic competitions in the world.
That said, we are proud to issue our ‘Sixteen in Sixteen: Signature Sporting Events in 2016. It provides a perfect overview of special events coming to the Bay State in 2016, alongside our iconic events that occur each year. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) and Massachusetts Sports Marketing Office (MSMO) have compiled the list.
Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary of Business Development said that sporting events “contribute to our state’s economy while defining the spirit and pride of Massachusetts.” He cited as an example, the 2015 Boston Marathon, which “generated $180 million in visitor spending, while branding Massachusetts as a desirable sports tourism destination. That is a winning formula.”
Shannah McArdle, director of the Massachusetts Sports Marketing Office, said that “Massachusetts has long been a premier sports destination, with athletes and fans traveling here from around the world. “ Her office’s mission, she said, is to “bring unique new sporting events to Massachusetts to strengthen our reputation as a state of champions.”
Massachusetts attracts 22.9 million domestic, 735,000 Canadian and 1.5 million overseas visitors each year, according to MOTT. For more information on visiting Massachusetts, go to massvacation.com. For year round information on sporting events, visit masportsoffice.com.
February 1 & 8
Beanpot Hockey Tournament
TD Garden, Boston
Initiated in 1952, the Beantown features four seminal local hockey teams: Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University and Northeastern University.
Polartec Big Air
Fenway Park, Boston
The U.S. Grand Prix big air snowboarding and free skiing event features champion athletes of Olympic and World Championship caliber navigating 140 foot high snow ramps.
NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Northeast
DCU Center, Worcester
Four of the best college teams in the northeast play elimination hockey, with the winner advancing to the NCAA Frozen Four National Championships.
March 28-April 3
ISU World Figure Skating Championships
TD Garden, Boston
The most prestigious figure skating competition in the world, the World Figure Skating Competition draws Olympic-caliber ice skaters from countries around the world.
Boston Red Sox Opening Day
Fenway Park, Boston
Boston Red Sox opening day at Fenway Park is one of the city’s great traditions, dating back to 1913. This year, the Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles.
Hopkinton to Boston
The world’s oldest marathon, established in 1897, draws elite runners from around the world and is considered one of the best sporting events anywhere. 2016 marks the 120th annual race.
June 10, 12, 18
Copa America Centenario
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
South America’s most popular soccer tournament debuts in the United State in 2016. Gillette Stadium is one of ten US venues chosen, and is hosting three games, including a quarter-final match. Soccer powerhouses Argentina and Brazil are in the Gillette groups.
Since 1980, the Mass-Pan Challenge has raised over half a billion dollars for cancer research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Bicycle teams cycle all across Massachusetts.
Babe Ruth Baseball World Series
Bullens Field, Westfield
Top baseball players from across the USA, Canada, Bermuda and the Bahamas come to western Massachusetts this summer to compete at the 2016 Babe Ruth World Series.
US Rowing Masters National Championship
Lake Quinsigamond, Worcester
The world’s top rowers, 21 and older, compete in 202 categories at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, which has been hosting regattas since the 1850s.
Falmouth Road Race
Woods Hole to Falmouth, Cape Cod
The 44th annual Falmouth Road Race attracts 12,000+ Olympians, elite and recreational runners who compete along a seven mile scenic stretch of Cape Cod.
Indy Grand Prix
Seaport District, Boston
Twenty of the world’s top race car drivers compete in this fast paced, multi-sport racing event over Labor Day weekend, with contestants using single-seat, open-cockpit, twin-turbocharged cars.
Deutsche Bank Golf Championship
TCP Boston Golf Course, Norton
The world’s best golfers play here each Labor Day weekend on this acclaimed par 71 course originally crafted by golfing legend Arnold Palmer.
Gran Prix of Gloucester
Stage Fort Park, Gloucester
Known as the ‘steeplechase of bicycle racing,’ the Gloucester Gran Prix draws competitors from USA, Canada and Europe, racing over an obstacle course overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Head of the Charles Regatta
Boston and Cambridge
Launched in 1965, Head of the Charles draws 11,000 athletes from the world’s best crew teams to compete on the Charles River, cheered on by 400,000+ spectators.
Harvard-Yale Football Game
Harvard Stadium, Cambridge
One of the oldest collegiate rivalries in college football, these two ivy-league colleges have been battling each other on the gridiron since 1875. This is the 133rd game between Harvard and Yale.