From the return of fans, to the construction of a new stadium, to a record-breaking attendance at the 2021 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship, 2021 gave Columbus more than enough reason to stand & cheer. Here are our top moments from the past year.
1. Fans Return - Cardboard cutouts and fake crowd noise played their role, but the starters returned to the lineup in 2021. Stadiums, ballparks and arenas were once again filled with the sights, smells, sounds and people we love.
2. NCAA Volleyball Championship Breaks Attendance Record - Columbus set an attendance record for the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship in December with 18,755 fans flocking to Nationwide Arena to watch Wisconsin defeat Nebraska for the Badgers’ first title in program history. ESPN set a similar record with more than 1.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the national championship, making it the most viewed women’s college volleyball match on its networks.
3. The Crew Opens Lower.com Field - The Columbus Crew said goodbye to Historic Crew Stadium in front of a sold-out crowd on June 19. Two weeks later, the Black & Gold opened its state-of-the-art 20,371 seat stadium in the downtown arena district, putting Columbus’ three professional teams within a half-mile stretch on Nationwide Blvd.
4. The Blue Jackets Add Hometown Talent - The Blue Jackets loaded up on hometown talent in 2021, trading for Jack Roslovic (Columbus, Ohio), signing Sean Kuraly (Dublin, Ohio) and drafting Cole Sillinger, who was born in Columbus when his dad played for the Blue Jackets in 2003.
5. NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series Returns - Columbus became the first three-time host of the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series when it hosted more than 230 teams from 47 North American cities over a five-day span this summer. When the final out was called, the economic impact of the the largest annual, LGBT single-sport, week-long athletic competition in the world fell between $12M-$14M.
The Greater Columbus Sports Commission hosts its inaugural Community Youth Camp…The NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship Elite Eight came to Columbus…Ohio State great and Ohio native Katie Smith was named to the WNBA’s W25 as a top-25 player in the league’s history…After a positive COVID test forced leader John Rahm to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament, Patrick Cantlay defeated Collin Morikawa in a playoff at Muirfield Village…Ohio State Men’s Basketball upsets No. 1 Duke 71-66 in Columbus…
About the Greater Columbus Sports Commission
The Greater Columbus Sports Commission is a nonprofit organization with a mission to rally Columbus to compete and win sporting events, providing a singular athlete and fan experience and positively impacting image, economy and lifestyle. Since 2002, the Greater Columbus Sports Commission has booked more than 500 new sporting events for the Columbus Region, generating an estimated $605 million in visitor spending. Those millions of dollars go back into the city, improving quality of life for our community and boosting economic growth.