Activity at Spooky Nook Sports mega-complex to begin ramping up

The anticipated MLK Champion Mill Classic volleyball tournament is postponed one year ‘to focus on other events we have scheduled.’

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

As the new year is underway, North B Street in Hamilton will see a lot more activity.

Over the next several weeks, there will be a handful of sporting events as more of Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill comes online, half of the 1.2 million-square-foot complex. There will also be more unpublicized events at the Champion Mill Conference Center being booked, such as the annual Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce Annual meeting set for Jan. 27.

The $165 million Spooky Nook at Champion Mill project is believed to be a key part of the city’s economic development efforts, as it has drawn in new businesses and has seen existing businesses expand. With buildings on the western shore of the Great Miami River and on either side of North B Street, it features 1.2 million square feet of indoor and outdoor sports space, hotel rooms, conference rooms, entertainment venues, food options, and more. The complex is named for the original sports Center on Spooky Nook Road in Manheim, Pa., and for the former Champion Paper Mill, which previously occupied the site.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Spooky Nook at Champion Mill is Ohio’s second-largest convention center and the nation’s largest sports complex, as the development features 19 meeting rooms, 28 basketball courts, 46 volleyball courts, a 65,000-square-foot fitness center and a 233-room hotel. Also, it will soon open the Champion Mill Arcade, a 5,000-square-foot arcade leased to Pinball Garage owner Brad Baker.

City Manager Joshua Smith hinted at more development and business news to the Journal-News, saying, “there are several things that have not been announced yet, that we’ll be announcing, I’m guessing, late first quarter, early second quarter (2023) that people will truly recognize what the true impact of Spooky Nook is for Hamilton.”

Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce President Dan Bates said although the ramp-up is gradual, “seeing is believing.”

“It’s exciting to see enough movement forward to prove the project is coming to fruition as promised,” said Bates. “I actually like that there is a gradual build because it gives local businesses and residents an opportunity to adjust. The business community is excited but also has a learning curve to adjust to a whole new influx of customers.”

Though the facility is open and Spooky Nook officials are bringing more features online as time progresses, facility spokeswoman Bonnie Bastian said, “There is work still to do.”

“As we invite more people into our complex for competitions, rec leagues, our fitness center, practices, and events, we know they will be amazed at the magnitude of our facility and all that we bring to the area,” she said. “We look forward to being the place where people gather together for fun and entertainment and to be able to introduce visitors to all that the Hamilton community has to offer.”

While the facility’s organizers are scheduling events and tournaments, they are delaying what could be one of their marquee events in the future. The MLK Champion Mill Classic volleyball tournament will be postponed until January 2024, Bastian said, adding that the delay for the tournament is for Spooky Nook officials “to focus on other events we have scheduled. They’ll have additional tournaments coming this summer and fall.

There is a parking $5 fee to spectate or participate in an event at Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill, and Bastian said tournament organizers might charge an additional entry fee. Though there are annual membership fees for the complex, people can purchase a daily fitness center pass for $15, but fitness center members have members-only pickleball courts and a basketball court. Hotel guests and those purchasing a day pass would have access to those as well, Bastian said.

Here are the scheduled events set for Spooky Nook in the coming weeks:

  • Feb. 4-5: Champion Mill Futsal Classic
  • Feb. 5: Spooky Nook Champion Mill and Field Hockey Life Field Hockey Tournament
  • Feb. 18-19: The Sweetheart SMASH Youth Basketball Tournament
  • March 18-19: The Shamrock Showdown Youth Volleyball Tournament
  • March 25-26: Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill Shootout Youth Basketball Tournament

General facility hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays to Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The winter adult rec leagues have already started, but registration is still open for the winter youth boys and girls basketball leagues, which start later this month. For rec league information, visit and select “Sports” on the menu bar at the top of the website.

When at Spooky Nook, there are several local businesses that either have or will open. Municipal Brew Works was the first Hamilton business to open within the development. and Hamilton businesses Sara’s House and Petals & Wicks will open a second location within the conference center side of the complex, and Flub’s Dariette will open its fourth Butler County location inside Spooky Nook.

Spooky Nook will have its own restaurant open, called the Forklift & Palate, but an opening date has not been announced.

Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Ohio, whose medical staff will be the first to aid athletes injured at the sports facility, announced in September it will be opening a facility inside Spooky Nook.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

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