See why the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships love Orlando, and why the destination is perfect for sporting events of any size.

Updated April 21, 2021

When the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior National Volleyball Championships first came to Orlando 20 years ago, they brought 123 teams with them. Which might sound like a lot, but consider that as of five years ago, that number had grown to 1,738 teams — a world record at the time — and again to 2,758 teams as of 2019, with attendance surpassing 110,000 people. And they’re not done growing yet!

“I’ve been told [we’re] second only to the Super Bowl in the state of Florida for economic impact,” says Dr. Roger J. Goudy, AAU president and CEO. “We’re really proud to be part of the Orlando community.”

Despite that impressive growth, the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships continue to stay in Orlando — not just because the destination is continually able to meet their ever-expanding needs, but also thanks to the excellent partnership they receive from Visit Orlando. Read on to learn more about this major competition’s successes, and how Visit Orlando can help any sporting event achieve similar results!

Please note: Depending on the timing of your visit, some experiences may be temporarily modified or closed. Learn more about healthy business travel and safety information in Orlando, and check with your favorite businesses for their current status.

Why the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships Love Orlando

AAU National Junior Volleyball Championships at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando

Given the AAU National Junior Volleyball Championships’ massive footprint and need for court space, the competition uses two of Orlando’s premier facilities: the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), which is where all 18-up and some ages 10-18 matches are held, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World® Resort, which hosts the overflow 10-18 games. Given the latter facility’s focus, it should come as no surprise that it’s perfect for sporting events — but the OCCC’s capacity might surprise you.

“When it comes to volleyball, you have to have a certain ceiling height, which is 28 feet, and then a free-standing area where we can put up courts and not have to worry about a pole being right in the middle of the court,” says Goudy. “So, a lot of convention centers may be almost as big [as the OCCC], but they don’t have as much free space to set up courts.”

AAU National Junior Volleyball Championships Finals Action at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando

Not only does the OCCC have ample space and configurability for this tournament’s premier games, but the AAU has found Visit Orlando’s assistance to be invaluable. In fact, the AAU appreciates Orlando so much that they’re headquartered here, and Goudy sits on Visit Orlando’s Board of Directors. “It’s a great team, a great partnership, and to put something like this on, you have to have that,” he says.

Goudy adds, “I think when the hoteliers and everyone else from Visit Orlando and the community come here … they’re almost in awe, because we’ve been doing it now for 20 years.”

No Sporting Event Is Too Big for Orlando

“[Orlando is] the best destination in the world to bring a sporting event to,” says Goudy — and he’s willing to put his time and expertise behind that claim. “I would help any organization in the world that wanted to come here and run an amateur sporting event, a professional sporting event, a developmental sporting event, camps, clinics or anything else, because the facilities here are remarkable and the people are passionate, and there’s no better destination in the world than Orlando, Florida.”

What’s more, the Orange County Convention Center and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex are just the start of our world-class venues for sports. For instance, downtown Orlando features Camping World Stadium, which will host the NFL Pro Bowl for the fourth consecutive year in 2020, as well as several high-profile, annual NCAA bowl games.

Also downtown, Exploria Stadium is home to MLS’ Orlando City Soccer Club and the NWSL’s Orlando City Pride. Nearby, the Amway Center has the NBA’s Orlando Magic, as well as the ECHL’s Orlando City Solar Bears.

In Lake Nona, close to Orlando International Airport, you’ll find the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus, which has more than 100 professional courts and is always open to hosting tennis events. And these venues are in addition to numerous outdoor spaces, pristine waterways and miles upon miles of running tracks!

Best of all? Orlando’s 75 million annual visitors helps ensure a steady stream of attendees for your competitions and exhibitions, while our massive hotel supply ensures your players, coaches, support staff and fans will have no problem finding places to stay. It’s all part of the reason why so many major sporting events play ball in Orlando.

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