Sports Marketing

Goals surpassed

Exceeded the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) annual sales goals, finishing the fiscal year with 98 assisted definite bookings. Those 98 events are projected to create more than 154,000 hotel room-nights and generate more than $105 million in direct visitor spending in Wake County.

New events

Enhanced the GRSA calendar with events new to the area in a range of sports, including:

  • USA Archery Junior Olympic Archery Development National Target Championships
  • U.S. Specialty Sports Association Atlantic Coast World Series
  • Senior Softball-USA Southern Championships
  • Senior Softball-USA Atlantic Coast Championships
  • USA Swimming Futures Championships
  • Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour
  • USA Wrestling World Team Trials Challenge Tournament and United World Wrestling Junior Freestyle Trials
  • National Youth Football Organization 7on7 National Championships

Key assisted bookings

In partnership with local organizations and venues, GRSA helped secure key events, including:

  • 2019, 2020 and 2021 U.S. Basketball Association National Championships (Raleigh Convention Center)
  • 2019, 2020 and 2021 National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet (Triangle Aquatic Center)
  • 2019 Six Major Raleigh (Raleigh Convention Center)
  • 2019 USA Swimming Southern Zone Age Group Championships (Triangle Aquatic Center)
  • 2019 Major League Bass Pro Tour

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
  • Deep South Classic
  • 12 N.C. High School Association state championships
  • Great American Cross Country Festival
  • Raleigh LaxFest
  • NCAA Division II Baseball Championship
  • NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer College Cup
  • NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball 1st/2nd Rounds
  • ACC Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships
  • A variety of events hosted at USA Baseball’s National Training Complex

Event support

A sampling of area events supported and serviced:

  • Atlantic Tire Championships
  • SAISA SailPack Women’s Regatta
  • SAS Championship
  • Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional Championship
  • Carolina Grand Slam USA Beach Volleyball National Junior Tour Event
  • XIOM Cary Cup Championships
  • International Cricket Council Americas Sub Regional T20 World Cup Qualifier
  • Concacaf Women’s Qualifier
  • Downtown Urban Open Disc Golf Tournament
  • NCBMX Series
  • National Youth Cricket League Tournaments
  • Several collegiate regional and championship events


One key recommendation from the Destination Strategic Plan (DSP) for Wake County called for strategies to grow the area’s reputation around esports, including hosting major gaming events. In partnership with Big Block/Subnation—a creative services company, IP accelerator and consulting company specializing in esports—the Greater Raleigh Esports Local Organizing Committee was formed to strategically target and attract esports events to Wake County. The first major event secured through these efforts was the 2019 Six Major Raleigh, which brought 16 of the top teams in the world to compete in Aug. 2019 at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Tradeshows and conferences attended

Represented Raleigh and Wake County at the following tradeshows and conferences:

  • NASC Annual Symposium
  • NASC CEO Summit
  • NASC 4S Summit
  • 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
  • U.S. Aquatic Sports
  • Esports Travel Summit
  • Amateur Athletic Union National Convention
  • Visit North Carolina 365 Conference
  • Simpleview Summit
  • ESPA Conference
  • WISE National Symposium

20 years of sports marketing

GRSA celebrated 20 years of sports marketing during the 2018-2019 fiscal year, as featured in Greater Raleigh Sports Spotlight: GRSA Turns 20, Marks Memorable Milestone. The article examines the transformation of the department, as well as changes to the overall sporting event industry and how that impacted the work of the GRSA, including the re-branding of the department in 2012. Through social media, 20 memorable moments were highlighted using #GRSA20, and several partners engaged with some of their own favorite memories from the last 20 years.

Outreach and industry involvement

The editorial series, “Greater Raleigh Sports Spotlight,” continues to provide an inside look for readers by focusing on a myriad of topics related to the sporting event industry in Greater Raleigh. Emphasis continues to be placed on social media platforms (Twitter and Instagram) as a service to event organizers as well as sharing information with the local community. Sports Watch, GRSA’s quarterly e-newsletter was redesigned and is now filled with even more content, including both sports and destination news. GRSA remained heavily involved with the N.C. Sports Association as assistant director Jason Philbeck, CSEE, completed his term as chair. SportsEvents Media Group recognized GRSA with a 2019 Readers’ Choice Award.