HAMILTON, Ohio — Amateur sports has a new mecca in Ohio. The more than one million square foot sports complex and convention center that’s been years in the making is finally up and running in Hamilton.
Now, local businesses are feeling the effects of thousands of people coming into town each weekend for sports tournaments.
What You Need To Know
- Spooky Nook is a more than one million square foot sports complex, convention center, and hotel
- The project has been years in the making and has just started hosting tournaments
- The complex even houses small businesses, like Municipal Brew Works
- At Municipal, they've already seen a record business day in February at their new location, something they hope is a glimpse of the future
The last time we saw Spooky Nook- it was just studs and concrete. Now, nearly three years later, the sports complex and convention center are nearly complete, enough to host events at the start of the year.
“This was just an open space when we originally started and to bring it to life has been outstanding," said Scott Rodgers, the general manager for Spooky Nook Ohio.
Rodgers showed off the facility- boasting the 28 basketball courts and 46 volleyball courts that can bring upwards of 15,000 people into Hamilton a weekend.
“Energy’s what’s great," he said. "You come in here, you can feel the energy, you can hear the games.”
Right now, tournaments are slowly booking up each weekend.
“I think it would be almost impossible when this place is hopping for any child to show up here and not be motivated for their game," Rodgers said.
But with construction taking about a year more than initially planned, some portions like the climbing wall area and indoor turf field aren’t completed.
“A little behind schedule on getting ourselves fully open, so it’s been a slower start than we wanted," he said.
Across the street in the convention center and hotel, things are also starting to get a move on. Which is where you find Municipal Brew Works’ second location.
Jim Goodman is the CEO and co-founder of the local brewery. He said pouring beers in an additional space has been the hope for a long time, and when they heard about the opportunity at Spooky Nook, they took the chance. Now, their second location is already hopping, hosting their infamous Singo nights- singing Bingo- every Tuesday.
A big draw to the space was to have room for additional brewing, which they’ve struggled with at their original location because of high demand.
“One of the fun things to do is a collaboration with another brewery or to do something you’ve never done before or to take a particular beer and take it in a different direction and when the tanks are always full, it makes it very difficult to do," Goodman said.
Goodman says while things are still taking some time, he says the last few weekends of tournaments have been a glimpse of the future.
“A couple of weekends ago, it was a little bit of validation because we had a record day for us in February which is very light foot traffic in the winter months but it was just a great day for us," Goodman said. "We saw steady business all day. The tournament brought in literally thousands of people from outside our area and they all got to try our beer.”
While other local retailers plan to open soon in the space, Rodgers said it’s great to see this small town benefit from all Spooky Nook offers.
“Being somebody that’s been from Southern Ohio most of my life, bounced around different areas, to watch Hamilton to bring itself up to a more modern environment has been great," Rodgers said. "Seeing new families move into the area, new environments, new businesses, and just the fact that we’re a part of that and part of bringing these people in is very exciting.”