2014-2015 Annual Report: Sports Marketing

Exceeded all Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) sales goals once again, finishing the fiscal year with 73 assisted definite bookings, accounting for more than 121,000 projected total hotel room-nights and $37 million in direct visitor spending for the area. GRSA helped to secure the following events, among others: 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship 1st and 2nd Rounds, 2015 USA BMX Tar Heel Nationals, 2015-17 Great American Cross Country Festival, 2016 USA Swimming Southern Zones, 2016 USA Ultimate College Nationals, 2016 City of Oaks Classic, 2015 NCAA Women's College Cup, 2016 Big Rock East and more. GRSA also continued to build upon social media success, earning approximately 1.3 million impressions on Twitter for the year, ranking in the top 10 for most followers among sports tourism organizations on Twitter and also implementing a new Instagram account to showcase sporting events and facilities.

Provided event support and services for the following ACC, CIAA and NCAA Championship events hosted in the Raleigh area: 2014 CIAA Cross Country Championships at WakeMed Soccer Park Cross Country Course; 2014 ACC Men's Soccer Championship at WakeMed Soccer Park; 2014 NCAA Men's College Cup at WakeMed Soccer Park; 2015 ACC Men's and Women's Tennis Championships at Cary Tennis Park; 2015 CIAA Baseball Championship at the USA Baseball National Training Complex; 2015 CIAA Softball Championship at Walnut Creek Softball Complex; 2015 Division I Women's Golf East Regional at North Carolina State University's Lonnie Poole Golf Course; and the 2015 Division II Baseball Championships at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

CASL visitRaleigh.com National Soccer SeriesNATIONAL SOCCER SERIES
Served and supported the 2014 Capital Area Soccer League (CASL) visitRaleigh.com National Soccer Series, considered the largest annual youth sporting event in Wake County's history, once again brought a huge economic impact to the region. Over the course of the four weekends of the National Soccer Series in Nov. and Dec., more than 22,500 athletes making up 1,200 girls' and boys' soccer teams from all over the country played a total of 3,750 games-making Raleigh the center of the youth soccer universe. In total, more than 35,000 visitors traveled to the Raleigh area, creating 34,000 total hotel room-nights and $9 million in direct visitor spending. CASL's WRAL Soccer Center in Raleigh serves as the primary site, with CASL the official event host.

Partnered with the Raleigh Convention Center on another banner sports year there. Events included: 2014 Pop Warner Mid-South Football and Cheerleading Championships, 2014 NCHSAA Cheerleading Championships, 2015 Mid-Atlantic Power League Volleyball, 2015 Deep South Classic, 2015 Powerade State Games of N.C., 2015 Amateur Athletic Union Karate National Championships, along with the hosting of expos for Rock ‘n' Roll Raleigh Marathon & 1/2 Marathon and IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh. Combined, these events generated more than $11.3 million in economic impact. GRSA was responsible for bringing many of these events to the Raleigh area and provided hosting support and services for each of these events.

Welcomed more than 11,000 athletes, representing 91 of N.C.'s 100 counties, who traveled to the Raleigh area and surrounding destinations to compete in the Powerade State Games of N.C. in June. The 24-sport, Olympic-style competition took place at 29 venues throughout the region, with festivities being officially kicked off with Opening Ceremonies on June 19 in City Plaza in downtown Raleigh featuring a guest appearance by Kemba Walker of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets. GRSA served as the official host of the event and primary event hosts included the City of Raleigh, Town of Cary, North Carolina State University, City of Durham and Duke University. The Powerade State Games of N.C. returns to the Triangle area in 2016.

Provided hosting support for a multitude of events including 12 N.C. High School Athletic Association state championships, a variety of USA Baseball events including the Tournament of Stars and National High School Invitational, Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh, CASL visitRaleigh.com National Soccer Series, NMRA International Racquetball Championships, Senior Softball-USA Eastern National Championships, ACC Men's Soccer Championship, U.S. Tennis Association Tennis on Campus National Championship, NIRSA Basketball National Championships, ACC Men's and Women's Tennis Championships, Great American Cross Country Festival, N.C. Youth Soccer Association Southern Soccer Show & Symposium, Shaw University Softball Challenge, National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet, U.S. Lacrosse Southeast Championships, Southeastern Masters Track and Field Championships and more.

Named Sports Tourism Organization of the Year by the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC). The award was announced at NASC's national convention in Milwaukee, Wisc. This is a prestigious honor for GRSA's advisory board, staff and partners and reflects the success of many sporting events hosted in the Raleigh area, thanks to the efforts of so many superb event organizers and our wonderful host partners. Meanwhile, GRSA executive director Scott Dupree was named CVB and Sports Commission Professional of the Year in ConnectSPORTS's Tourism Excellence Awards Sales and Business Development category. The award was presented to Dupree in Aug. at the ConnectSPORTS annual convention in Orlando, Fla. Lastly, GRSA's quarterly e-newsletter, Sports Watch, won a Gold Award at the annual DMANC Destination Marketing Achievement Awards in Oct. 2014.

The inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh Marathon & 1/2 Marathon presented by WRAL benefiting The V Foundation was awarded SportTravel's Best New Sporting Event Award for 2014 at the Travel, Events and Management in Sports (TEAMS) Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, Nev. The annual SportsTravel Awards recognize excellence in sporting event production and management at the amateur, collegiate and professional levels. Not to be outdone, Ironman 70.3 Raleigh won the 2014 Global Athlete Satisfaction Award, making it the top-rated IRONMAN 70.3 in the world and the best among 83 events worldwide.

GRSA executive director Scott Dupree served on the Greater Raleigh Sports Council's steering committee and became chair of Raleigh's 2016 NCAA Basketball Local Organizing Committee. Tori Collins, associate director, served on the tradeshow committee for the N.C. Sports Association (NCSA) and served on the NASC awards committee. Jason Philbeck, CSEE, assistant director, served as treasurer on the NCSA Executive Board and became co-chair of NCSA's strategic planning/marketing committee.

Represented Raleigh and Wake County at the following sports tradeshows: NASC Annual Symposium, NASC Market Segment Meeting, TEAMS Conference and Expo, U.S. Olympic Committee SportsLink, S.P.O.R.T.S. Conference, Connect Sports Marketplace, U.S. Specialty Sports Association National Convention, American Baseball Coaches Association Convention, National Soccer Coaches Association Convention, U.S. Youth Soccer Annual Workshop and the U.S. Lacrosse National Convention.