Sports Marketing (2017-2018 Annual Report)

Goals surpassed

Exceeded the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) annual sales goals, finishing the fiscal year with 82 assisted definite bookings. Those 82 events are projected to create more than 110,000 hotel room-nights and generate more than $94 million in direct visitor spending in Wake County.

NCAA championships return

Collegiate championship events returned during the 2017-2018 academic year, and GRSA provided support for host institutions and local partners including North Carolina State University (NCSU), University of Mount Olive and the Town of Cary. NCSU had a big year as an NCAA host for regional events: Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball, Women’s Gymnastics, Men’s Golf and Baseball. William Peace University hosted a Division III Baseball Regional at Ting Stadium in Holly Springs, and the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship returned to the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary.

New events

Enhanced the GRSA calendar with events new to the area in a range of sports, including: Coastal Plain League All-Star Game (baseball), Army Baseball Classic, Atlantic Coast Showcase (ultimate), Stitch Intercollegiate (golf), Shootout for Soldiers (lacrosse), Carolina League All-Star Classic (baseball), USA Table Tennis National Team Super Camp, Oak City Friendlies presented by GRSA (soccer) and a variety of Big Shots basketball tournaments.

Key assisted bookings

In partnership with local organizations and venues, helped secure key events, including: 2018 and 2019 USA Archery Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) National Target Championships (WRAL Soccer Park), 2018 USA Swimming Futures Championships (Triangle Aquatic Center), 2018 Senior Softball-USA Southern Championships (Holly Springs), 2018, 2019 and 2020 U.S. Specialty Sports Association Atlantic Coast World Series (Town of Cary), 2019 USA Gymnastics XCEL N.C. State Championships (Raleigh Convention Center), 2021 and 2022 Powerade State Games of N.C., 2021, 2022 and 2023 City of Oaks Volleyball Challenge (Raleigh Convention Center), and 2021, 2022 and 2023 MAPL Raleigh Volleyball (Raleigh Convention Center).

Major events hosted

Worked with local partners in hosting several key events throughout the year. Some of the highlights include: Showcase Series, City of Oaks Volleyball Challenge, MAPL Raleigh Volleyball, Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon, IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh, Deep South Classic, ACC Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, 12 N.C. High School Association state championships, Great American Cross Country Festival, Raleigh LaxFest, National Club Baseball Division I World Series and a variety of events hosted at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex.

Event support

A sampling of area events supported and serviced: NC USSSA Fastpitch Eastern and Winter Nationals, Atlantic Tire Championships, adidas Cross Country Challenge, SAISA SailPack Women’s Regatta, SAS Championship, Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional Championship, Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon, Downtown Urban Open Disc Golf Tournament, USA Swimming Spring Senior Sectionals, N.C. Youth Soccer Association Soccer Symposium, Grand Slam Triangle Softball Classic, John Wall Family Foundation Holiday Invitational, Tobacco Road Marathon & Half Marathon, Carolina Grand Slam USA Beach Volleyball National Junior Tour Event, Shaw University Softball Challenge, Butterfly Cary Cup Championships and more.

Tradeshows attended

Represented Raleigh and Wake County at the following sports tradeshows: NASC Annual Symposium, TEAMS Conference and Expo, CONNECT Sports Marketplace, U.S. Olympic Committee SportsLink, S.P.O.R.T.S. Conference, USA Softball Annual Meeting, USSSA Annual Convention, American Baseball Coaches Association Convention, United Soccer Coaches Convention, U.S. Youth Soccer Annual Workshop, U.S. Lacrosse National Convention, Visit North Carolina 365 Conference, Simpleview Summit, ESPA Conference and WISE National Symposium.

Reaching event organizers

Newly-redesigned provides an advantage when attracting events to the Raleigh area. Following extensive research, which included interviews with sports planners, priority was given to the content deemed most influential in their decision-making process. The new site is filled with large photos, fresh content and easy-to-navigate pages on all types of devices. Major venues and facilities, interactive calendars and the "Greater Raleigh Sports Spotlight" editorial series are highlighted to give the most up-to-date information to web visitors. Emphasis continues to be placed on social media platforms (Twitter and Instagram) to provide the latest information about the sports event industry in Greater Raleigh. Sports Watch, GRSA’s quarterly e-newsletter, continues to provide an in-depth look at the sports event industry in the area. To follow up last year’s award-winning video, a second video was produced: “Greater Raleigh: One of America's Great Sports Cities.”

Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh and IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh

Enjoyed a superb partnership with the organizers of Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh and IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh. We’ve had an excellent six-year run with IRONMAN (since 2013) and five years with Rock ‘n’ Roll (since 2014). The 2018 races marked the end of the existing agreement with both events. The races achieved what we anticipated, producing economic impact for our region by bringing athletes and their families to Raleigh from all 50 states and dozens of countries. The first four years of Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh generated more than 19,000 hotel room-nights and $14.7 million in direct visitor spending. Meanwhile, the first five years of IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh created 16,000 hotel room-nights and $8.1 million in direct visitor spending. Thanks to our local partners who made these national events such a tremendous success locally—namely the City of Raleigh, Wake County and Jordan Lake State Recreation Area.

Accolades and achievements

GRSA executive director Scott Dupree topped the inaugural Triangle Ten, a list of influential people in Triangle sports compiled by Luke DeCock, sports columnist for The News & Observer. GRSA assistant director Jason Philbeck, CSEE, served as chair of the N.C. Sports Association, which represents dozens of destinations statewide that are involved in the sports tourism industry. As a destination, the Raleigh area received recognition in national publications, including these highlights: Men’s Health named Raleigh one of America’s Most Adventurous Cities and ranked Raleigh among the top Sportiest Cities in America, and Meetings Today featured Greater Raleigh venues in “North Carolina’s Triangle Region Showcases Sports Venues.”