National Sports Center
The National Sports Center opened in 1990 and is the flagship facility of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. The campus was built by the State of Minnesota as part of a statewide building program to improve Minnesota’s amateur sports facilities.
The campus is a 600-acre multi-sport facility located in Blaine. It includes 52 athletic fields; the Schwan Super Rink, an eight-sheet ice arena that is the world's largest; the 8,500-seat NSC Stadium; the Gradient Financial Center meeting and events center; two indoor sports facilities, the Sports Hall and the Sport Expo Center; the 18-hole Victory Links golf course; a 250-meter all-wood outdoor cycling velodrome; and a 180-bed Residence Hall with cafeteria.
Even though most of the facility development and land purchases were made with State of Minnesota funding, the facility is operated by a non-profit corporation, the National Sports Center Foundation (NSCF). The NSCF operates the facility on a self-supporting basis. State funds were used to build the facility, but no operating subsidy is provided. The original state investment was $14.7 million, and to date the State of Minnesota has invested just over $33 million in the NSC campus. In addition to state investments, since 2000 the NSCF has financed the majority of an ambitious expansion plan through private investment. About two-thirds of the Victory Links gold course was financed privately, as was all of the construction of the back four ice sheets at the Schwan Super Rink. Some of the Gradient Financial Center meeting and events facility and all of the Sport Expo Center was privately financed. The current value of facilities and land at the National Sports Center stands at about $50 million.
The Schwan Super Rink was funded by a cooperative of nine local governmental partners along with the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. The partners include the cities of Arden Hills, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Mounds View, New Brighton, Shoreview, the counties of Ramsey and Anoka, as well as Centennial. Total construction cost was $12 million in 1998. The $10 million Schwan Super Rink expansion was also built with non-state money in 2006. Partners include the Herb Brooks Foundation, Bethel University, and the Blaine and Centennial youth hockey associations. All of these entities made an initial investment and also pay for their ice time.
The National Sports Center hosts about 300 events and over four million visitors each year. Out-of-state visitors to the campus generate over $45 million in annual economic impact in local communities.
NSC’s Dual Mission:
- To generate economic impact through out-of-state visitors by attracting them to amateur sports events and programs. In an independent study of the NSC by the State of Minnesota Analysis and Evaluation Office, the NSC produces over $45 million of annual economic impact from out-of-state visitors. These visitors generate about $3 million of taxes to the state each year, and contribute $1 million in annual local taxes.
- To provide amateur sports opportunities to Minnesota residents. Even though the NSC has produced impressive out-of-state economic impact, the bulk of visitors are Minnesota residents - 92 percent, in fact. These are families and athletes who play in leagues and tournaments, attend events as spectators, buy tickets to non-sport events and play on the golf course. On an average day there are 12 different programs and events taking place at the NSC, and most service the local community.
More than $40 million
Annual Economic Impact
More than $47 million
Over 4 million visits
Self-supporting, non-profit foundation
- 602 acres
- 52 soccer fields
- Schwan Super Rink, an 8-sheet ice arena
- 8,500 seat outdoor stadium
- 250 meter cycling velodrome
- 58,000 square foot indoor Sports Hall
- Victory Links 18-hole course, including the Tournament Greens putting course, clubhouse and driving range
- 36,000 square feet of meeting and exposition space in the Gradient Financial Center and the Sport Expo Center.
- 180-bed Residence Hall with cafeteria
Sports and Activities Served
- Consumer trade shows
- Figure skating
- Fitness activities
- Ice hockey
- Meetings and conventions
- Public ice skating
- Ultimate disc