2015-2016 Annual Report: Sports Marketing

Exceeded annual sales goals, finishing the fiscal year with 73 assisted definite bookings. Those 73 future events are projected to create more than 130,000 hotel room-nights and generate more than $38.8 million in direct visitor spending in Wake County in the coming years.

2016 NCAA Basketball First and Second Rounds RaleighMARCH MADNESS
March Madness returned to Raleigh’s PNC Arena in 2016, and it proved to be another tremendous success by any measure. North Carolina State University served as the official host institution for the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds, with support from GRSA and a strong Local Organizing Committee (LOC). The NCAA men’s basketball tourney in Raleigh featured six games, all televised nationally, that generated $4.6 million in direct visitor spending and more than 9,600 hotel room-nights. Total attendance was 53,447, a figure that included more than 19,600 visitors who traveled to Raleigh to experience the madness. The LOC was led by GRSA and North Carolina State University, with tremendous support from the Centennial Authority and Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, along with many other community organizations and leaders. This marked the second time in three years, and fourth time in 13 years, that Raleigh served as a host site for the NCAA men’s basketball championship.

Set records during the year with numerous events hosted in Wake County, in terms of participation, hotel room-nights and direct visitor spending. The 2015 Women’s College Cup held in Cary was arguably the most successful Women’s College Cup in history; the event set a record with more than 25,000 tickets sold, and the Fri. night attendance was a venue record for WakeMed Soccer Park and second-most ever at a Women’s College Cup. The 2015 CASL visitRaleigh.com National Soccer Series included more than 1,350 boys' and girls' teams from across the country over four weekends in Nov. and Dec.; it achieved the highest number of teams ever registered for the event and generated more than 28,800 hotel room-nights for the area. The 2016 Mid-Atlantic Power League (MAPL) volleyball tournament returned to the Raleigh Convention Center with record participation; played on 25 courts, the event included 192 visiting teams that traveled to Raleigh from up and down the East Coast. And the 2016 Deep South Classic, played on 20 basketball courts at the Raleigh Convention Center as well as several surrounding venues, welcomed the largest number of girls’ showcase teams (488) in the event’s history; the event generated 9,013 total hotel room-nights in more than 60 hotels throughout Wake County. Direct visitor spending totaled $3.1 million, an increase of approximately 40% over last year’s event.

USA BMX Tar Heel NationalsNEW EVENTS
Enhanced the GRSA calendar with several new events in 2015-2016. The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Karate National Championships, held at the Raleigh Convention Center, created nearly 4,000 hotel room-nights and resulted in more than $1.1 million in direct visitor spending. Riders of all ages participated in the USA BMX Tar Heel Nationals, which took place at Capital City BMX track at Lions Park in Raleigh as part of the USA BMX National Series. Top men’s and women’s college teams from around the country traveled to WRAL Soccer Park to compete in the USA Ultimate Division I College Championships. More new events added to the calendar included the inaugural City of Oaks Challenge volleyball tournament at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Cary Tennis Championships professional event at Cary Tennis Park and the ACC Softball Championship at Dail Softball Stadium at North Carolina State University.

USA Ultimate College ChampionshipsKEY ASSISTED BOOKINGS
Helped to secure the following events, in addition to many of the events listed above and among others: 2016 NCAA Women's College Cup, 2017 NCAA Women’s Division I Lacrosse Championship, 2016 USA Ultimate Division I College Championships, 2016 NCAA Division II Baseball Preseason Invitational, 2016 ACC Women’s Soccer Championship, 2016 USTA Tennis on Campus National Championship, 2016 USA Swimming’s Southern Zone Age Group Championships, 2016 Senior Softball-USA Eastern Nationals and more.

2016 Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh MarathonMAJOR EVENTS HOSTED
Supported GRSA partners and helped host several key events throughout the year. Some of the highlights included: Powerade State Games of North Carolina, CASL visitRaleigh.com National Soccer Series, NCAA Men's Basketball 1st/2nd Rounds, ACC Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, ACC Women’s Soccer Championship, NCAA Women’s College Cup, NCAA Baseball Division II World Series, Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh, Deep South Classic, MAPL Raleigh Volleyball, 12 N.C. High School Athletic Association state championships and a variety of events hosted by USA Baseball at its National Training Complex, including the Irish Classic, Tournament of Stars, National High School Invitational, National Team Identification Series and more.

Supported many key bookings and events this year, including those listed above. Here is a sampling of a few additional events for which GRSA provided hosting support or services: AAU Karate National Championships, SAS Championship, HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational, Tobacco Road Marathon, USA BMX Tar Heel Nationals, City of Oaks Volleyball Challenge, Cary Tennis Championships, Carolina Grand Slam USA Beach Volleyball National Junior Tour Event, NCAA Baseball Raleigh Regional, ACC Softball Championship, NC Soccer Coaches Association Kick Off Classic, Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional Championship, Grand Slam Triangle Softball Classic, N.C. Youth Soccer Association Soccer Symposium, Big South Men’s Basketball Championship, USA Triathlon Long Course Duathlon National Championship, Shaw University Softball Challenge, National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet, All-Star Cheer & Dance Challenge and more.

Extended GRSA's excellent partnership with USA Baseball for four additional years, through 2019. The new agreement makes the GRSA an official partner of USA Baseball, the sport’s national governing body, and will give the GRSA a greater on-site presence during all premier events at the National Training Complex (NTC) in Cary, as well as providing a variety of new marketing opportunities; in the last three years alone, USA Baseball has tracked more than 21,700 hotel room-nights in Wake County that were the direct result of USA Baseball events at the NTC. In addition, the GRSA continued its valued partnership with the Capital Area Soccer League’s marquee event, the CASL visitRaleigh.com National Soccer Series (NSS); the 2015 NSS drew a record 1,350 youth soccer teams over four weekends in the fall, leading to more than 28,800 hotel room-nights. The GRSA is proud of its strong relationships with CASL and USA Baseball, both of which have established themselves as economic engines in the regional sports industry.