Greater Palm Springs has always had a love affair with sports, and avid fans are drawn to the desert year-round for exciting sporting events. With ideal weather, superb facilities and the desert allure, it’s no surprise that the oasis is the official home to several spectacular sporting events that are recognized across the globe. From field to court, we highlight the can’t-miss events to look forward to this season.
The 2015 National Hockey Festival will be held at the Empire Polo Club during the Thanksgiving holiday, November 26-29, 2015. As the largest field hockey event in the world, the Festival attracts 145 teams, more than 7,000 visitors from across the US, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean, as well as 65-plus colleges scouting talent. www.teamusa.org.
Empire Polo Club in Indio is one of the leading polo facilities in the world thanks to 12 grass polo fields, an indoor polo arena, a polo school, night club and exciting matches throughout the season. Polo season begins January 3 and runs through April 3. General admission is free for most events with a $10 per car parking fee; leashed dogs are welcome. Mark your calendar for Opening Day & Hat Day on January 3 and take part in the halftime traditional champagne Divot Stomp. Check out the entire season schedule here: www.empirepolo.com/for-spectators/season-schedule/.
The ninth annual Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival is returning to Greater Palm Springs over Martin Luther King weekend, January 16 & 17, 2016 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. This premier co-ed lacrosse event is power packed with competitive club teams from across North America. This lacrosse tournament is open to the public and free to attend. Competition begins on Saturday January 16 at 8:00 a.m. and will conclude on Sunday January 17 by 5:00 p.m. For more information on Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival, go to www.laxtournaments.com.
HITS Thermal Desert Circuit
HITS Desert Circuit features eight weeks of USEF Premier-rated Hunters and Jumpers with total prizes of nearly $3 million. The circuit spans nine weeks (with one off-week) beginning January 19 through March 20, 2016. No admission charge for daytime performances Wednesday through Saturday. On Sunday, General Admission tickets are $5; children 12 and under are free. General Admission for the HITS Thermal Grand Prix on Sunday, February 7 and the AIG Million on Sunday, March 20 are $10. Children 12 and under free. For a more detailed schedule, visit www.hitsshows.com/thermal/hits-thermal-desert-circuit.
The newly named CareerBuilder Challenge (formerly the Humana Challenge) will continue to honor and celebrate the legacy of Bob Hope and his long-time role as tournament host; and, through its existing relationship with the Clinton Foundation, the tournament will continue to promote a health-focused theme in 2016. The 2016 tournament, the first with CareerBuilder as title sponsor, will be held January 21 through Sunday, January 24. Tickets and a detailed schedule are available online at www.careerbuilderchallenge.com.
Tour de Palm Springs
The 18th annual Tour de Palm Springs is a CVSPIN-sponsored event designed to raise money for nonprofit organizations across Greater Palm Springs. Each year, the organizers hope to support more than 100 local charities. Palm Springs’ famous weather, gorgeous mountain scenery and thousands of bike riders make the Tour de Palm Springs a fundraising event like no other. This year, the tour is scheduled for January 23, 2016. Everyone is welcome to watch along the route or register to participate. There are four different route lengths to choose from as well as new one to three-mile walk options. Individuals and teams can register online by January 10, 2017. To view the different routes or to register, visit www.tourdepalmsprings.com.
Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic at Big League Dreams
The Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic is the largest and most competitive Division 1 softball event outside of the NCAA post season. The tournament features 35 top D1 programs all competing at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City. This season’s tournament is scheduled for the weekends of February 19-21 and February 25-28, 2017. The tournament is open to the public and tickets for both weekends are available for purchase online at www.marynutterclassic.wordpress.com.
BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens
The BNP Paribas Open is the largest two-week combined ATP World Masters 1000 and WTA Premier professional tennis tournament in the world. The tournament features the top men and women professional players competing in singles and doubles. This season’s tournament is scheduled for March 7-20, 2017. Daily tickets and ticket packages are available for purchase online at www.bnpparibasopen.com.
The annual LPGA tournament, ANA Inspiration, will be held March 28 – April 3, 2017 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, home of the event since 1972. The LPGA’s first major tournament of the year is considered one of the game’s greatest championships. The history and tradition will continue—including the iconic leap into the famous Poppie’s Pond next to the 18th green before donning the Champion’s Robe and claiming the coveted Dinah Shore Trophy. Tickets for the tournament are on sale now and range from single day ground passes to weekly badges, as well as 18th Green Suites. For event and player information as well as advance tickets, visit www.anainspriation.com.