Sports Marketing

Goals surpassed

The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) exceeded annual sales goals, finishing the fiscal year with 114 assisted definite bookings. In total, the 114 bookings represent a projected 118,000+ hotel room-nights and more than $84 million projected in direct economic impact (visitor spending) in Wake County.

Events in the Raleigh area

Worked with local partners in hosting, supporting and servicing major events held throughout the year. Some of the highlights include:

  • Great American Cross Country Festival
  • Atlantic Tire Tennis Championships
  • NCFC Youth’s Showcase Series
  • John Wall Holiday Invitational
  • BODYARMOR State Games of North Carolina (Summer and Winter Games)
  • North Carolina LaxFest 
  • MAPL Raleigh Volleyball 
  • City of Oaks Volleyball Challenge 
  • Rocky Mount Rumble Gymnastics Challenge
  • US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Subregional
  • Rumble in Raleigh Gymnastics Invite
  • AJGA Junior at 12 Oaks
  • Swimming: N.C. Swimming Age Group Championships, YMCA Summer Swim Festival, Speedo Blizzard Blitz, USA Swimming ESSZ Senior Sectionals and ESSZ Age Group Sectionals
  • Deep South Classic
  • HoopSeen Carolina Jam
  • Senior Softball-USA Atlantic Coast Championships
  • Carolina Grand Slam BNQ
  • Multiple N.C. High School Athletic Association state championships
  • A variety of marque events hosted at USA Baseball National Training Complex

Future bookings   

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

  • 2022 Apex Legends Global Series Year 2 Championship (PNC Arena)
  • 2022 USA Ultimate Pro Tour Championship Series (WRAL Soccer Park)
  • 2022 Go Soccer Pro Combine (Wake Competition Center) 
  • 2023 Carolina Cup (Raleigh Convention Center)
  • 2023 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series™ (Carter-Finley Stadium)
  • 2023 Rumble In Raleigh (Raleigh Convention Center)
  • 2023 and 2024 USA Lacrosse National High School Women’s Tournament (WRAL Soccer Park)
  • 2024 Conference Carolinas Men’s and Women’s Swimming Championships (Triangle Aquatic Center)

Collegiate events hosted  

The area’s stellar reputation for hosting collegiate-level events continued this past year. NCAA Championship events held during the past year include: Men’s College Cup, Women's Basketball First Four and First/Second Rounds, Women's Gymnastics Regional, Men's Tennis First/Second Rounds, Women's Tennis First/Second Rounds and Super Regional and the Division II Baseball Championship. ACC Champions were crowned in Cary in men’s and women’s soccer. Additional events include: adidas XC Challenge, SailPack Intercollegiate Regattas, Cedric Walker HBCU Cross Country Challenge, USA South Athletic Conference College Swim Championship, Grand Slam Triangle Classic (softball), DII Baseball Challenge, Triangle Collegiate Classic (volleyball), Wolfpack Women's Match Play Invitational (golf), Stitch Intercollegiate (golf) and the Lake Wheeler Rowing Invitational.


The Greater Raleigh Esports Local Organizing Committee (GRELOC) continues to grow the area’s reputation around esports, including hosting major gaming events—a key recommendation of Wake County's Destination Strategic Plan. XP League North American Finals and Carolina Games Summit kicked off the return to in-person events last August, followed by the HCS Kickoff Major in December. More esports events were secured for the coming months, including the first major international esports event to be held at PNC Arena in July 2022—Apex Legends Global Series Year 2 Championship—and the Fortnite Championship Series Invitational to be held at the Raleigh Convention Center in Nov. 2022.

Emerging sports

Continued to diversify the GRSA calendar with the addition of events featuring emerging and non-traditional sports, including:

  • USA Cricket Women’s Regional
  • Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship Finals
  • RDU Kickball Classic Tournament
  • PVA Wheelchair Rugby Invitational
  • Red and White Pickleball Open
  • Atlantic Intercollegiate Major presented by Pickleball Den
  • Spikeball College Nationals
  • USA BMX Freestyle Series (National Tour Stop)

Facility development

There is more sports venue development taking place in Wake County right now than at any point in the last 20 years. A variety of Wake County sports venue projects are recently completed or currently underway, including:

  • Wake Stone Athletic Park in Knightdale: The Town of Knightdale, in partnership with Wake Stone Corporation, NCFC Youth and Wake County, opened this new facility in fall 2021. The facility includes five soccer fields, with more fields planned in future phases.
  • Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary: The addition of a new 50-meter outdoor pool in the fall of 2022 will expand the programming and hosting capabilities for the center.
  • PNC Arena in Raleigh: The arena, which opened in 1999, is moving forward with a major design, enhancement and renovation project that will feature a variety of upgrades.
  • The Center (Cary Indoor Multisport Complex): The new venue will feature a small arena (approximately 4,000 seats), 12 basketball courts convertible to 20 volleyball courts and full esports capabilities. A site has been selected (South Hills Mall) and a design team has been brought on board. A soft timeline would have construction beginning in 2024 and opening 2026.
  • USA Baseball National Training Complex enhancement in Cary: The enhancement will include a covered, open-air, full infield and batting cages for workouts and practice as well as umpire locker rooms, additional meeting and function space and USA Baseball offices. Expected completion date is summer/fall of 2023.
  • Pleasant Park in Apex: A new venue under construction with six multipurpose, synthetic turf fields, all with lights, along with four tennis courts and six pickleball courts. Expected to open fall 2022.
  • Church Street Park (cricket) enhancement in Morrisville: Artificial turf practice pitches and nets, addition of 2,000 permanent seats, broadcast infrastructure and additional parking. Estimated completion date is summer 2023.
  • SWING in Raleigh: The new proposed venue will include 35 tennis courts, 25 pickleball courts, 16 padel courts, 20 table tennis tables and four beach tennis courts. Expected to break ground fall 2022.

Outreach and industry involvement

GRSA worked closely with the Greater Raleigh CVB's Marketing & Communications Department to activate the "Jump Back In" campaign for sports event planners along with participation in national tradeshows including TEAMS Conference and Expo and the Sports ETA Annual Symposium. Emphasis continues to be placed on social media platforms (Twitter and Instagram) as a way to communicate with sports event planners and also to share information with local partners and stakeholders. GRSA remained heavily involved with the N.C. Sports Association (NCSA) as sports sales manager Jocelyn O’Sullivan served as treasurer on the NCSA board of directors, associate director Jason Philbeck, STS, served as chair of the Board Development Committee and executive director Scott Dupree served as chair of the N.C. Sports Leadership Council. Director Tori Collins served as co-chair of the GRELOC.

Tradeshows/conferences attended

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

  • TEAMS Conference and Expo
  • U.S. Olympic Committee Sportslink
  • Connect Sports Marketplace
  • SPORTS Conference
  • American Baseball Coaches Association Convention
  • U.S. Lacrosse National Convention
  • NCAA Annual Convention
  • Sports ETA Symposium
  • Sports ETA Chief Executive Summit
  • NCSA Meetings
  • N.C. Sports Leadership Council Meetings
  • GRSA Advisory Board Meetings