April 16, 2013 (Raleigh, NC) - For the first time, basketball takes center court this weekend (April 19-21) at the Raleigh Convention Center during the 16th annual Deep South Classic which brings together many of the nation's top girls teams and individual stars.

This year, 265 teams from around the country will participate in the national tournament using nearly 40 hotels in Wake County. The tournament is expected to welcome 4,500 athletes, coaches, families and fans, generating approximately 6,000 hotel room-nights and $2 million in direct visitor spending. The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) is the official host organization for the Deep South Classic.

Travel Courts, Inc. based out of Sandy, UT will begin installation of the 18 courts being used for the tournament at 9:00 am on Wednesday (April 17), and games will be played on all courts simultaneously throughout each day of the tournament. Since its opening in September 2008, the Raleigh Convention Center has been host to numerous sporting events including volleyball, cheerleading, wresting and gymnastics, as well as the NHL All-Star Weekend Fan Fair, but this is the first time the center has ever hosted a basketball tournament.

"The Deep South Classic is one of the nation's most prestigious basketball showcase events, and we are delighted that organizers have decided to bring it all under one roof at the Raleigh Convention Center," said Scott Dupree, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. "This further strengthens the RCC's fast-developing reputation as a major multi-purpose venue for sporting events."

Tournament play begins on Friday and will include age divisions ranging from 13 to 17. Game schedule is: Friday, April 19, 8am-8:50pm; Saturday, April 20, 8am-8:50pm and Sunday, April 21, 8am-4:10pm. Admission is $15 per day, and children under 12 are free.

Media is invited to the Raleigh Convention Center for filming during set-up and tournament play.