Asheville to Host National and International Sporting Events
By Jason Tarr
With its prime location in the Blue Ridge Mountains and its top notch athletic facilities, Asheville is drawing major international and national sports competitions to town. Asheville will have everything this year from Team USA tennis action to world-class cycling to top-level college basketball.
And, as you enjoy watching the athletes compete, you'll have Asheville at your fingertips to ensure there won't be any break in the excitement. Experience Asheville's vibrant downtown, the bounty of independent restaurants, the thriving music and arts scene and the most breweries per capita of any U.S. city.
Sports fans, here's where to catch the major competitions coming to Asheville in 2018-2019:
Battle in the Blue Ridge Men’s College Basketball Tournament
November 23-25, 2018
As the NCAA college basketball season gets underway, teams often travel for early season tournaments to prepare for the high-intensity competition of conference play. In November 2018, four NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams will square off in a round-robin tournament in Asheville at the U.S. Cellular Center as part of the Battle in the Blue Ridge. This year’s tournament features UNC Wilmington (Colonial), Eastern Illinois (Ohio Valley), Gardner-Webb (Big South) and Arkansas State (Sun Belt). Tickets are on sale now.
Great Smoky Mountain Grapple
December 21-22, 2018
The region’s best high school wrestlers take the mat at the U.S. Cellular Center. Nearly 30 teams will compete in the Headlock on Hunger Theraworx Protect Great Smoky Mountain Grapple. Among the teams competing will be local teams Asheville High School, Enka High School and Mitchell High School. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Prices are $10 for adults for both days and $5 for students.
USA vs. Australia - Fed Cup
February 9-10, 2019
The Fed Cup, considered the world cup of women’s professional tennis, will return to Asheville for the second consecutive year! Asheville becomes the first U.S. city in more than a decade to host consecutive Fed Cup "ties." In 2018, Team USA faced The Netherlands at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville. The star-studded event featured Serena Williams, Venus Williams, CoCo Vandeweghe and Lauren Davis. In 2019 in Asheville, Team USA will face off against Australia. The players for 2019 have yet to be announced. The Fed Cup is the world's largest annual international team competition in women's sport with 100 nations competing every year. Tickets are on sale beginning November 2, 2018.
SoCon Basketball Championships
March 7-11, 2019
March Madness begins in Asheville! Don't miss the chance to see some of the nation's best conference tournament action as the men's and women's teams of the Southern Conference (Division I) battle for a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 2019 Championships feature a full lineup of events for fans. Your kids will love dribbling through Asheville for the Downtown Dribble and KidsFest. Hear great music at the Ingles JamFest. And, show your community support during the SoCon Teddy Bear Toss and Hometown Heroes Night.
Haute Route Asheville
May 17-19, 2019
Experience the Blue Ridge Mountains with some of the world's top cyclists during Haute Route Asheville, a prestigious European-based cycling event. During the three-day event, each stage will begin and end in Asheville's vibrant downtown. The first two stages will take riders to Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Cheer on the riders at the start line and then spend the day exploring all that Asheville has to offer!
Asheville Spartan Super
July 27-28, 2019
Are you up for the challenge? The Spartan Race is a major obstacle course drawing athletes from across the nation who are looking to push their limits. The race is a U.S. Championship Series Race and is considered one of the Spartan's premier race events of the year. The challenging course is located in the beautiful nearby community of Black Mountain.
Photo credits: Top photo courtesy of U.S. Tennis Association, provided by Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission. Great Smoky Mountain Grapple photo by Derek DiLuzio. SoCon photo provided by The Southern Conference. Spartan Race photo courtesy of The Spartan Race, provided by Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission.