SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.
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CVBs & Sports Commissions Sponsored Content December 2016 114 www.sportseventsmagazine.com oach George Williams brings something extra to the game. He inspires greatness, coach- ing 39 Olympic track and field athletes and 37 NCAA Champi- onship teams. Not only do his Saint Augustine's University student athletes excel in sports, they are exceptionally well-rounded, earning a 95-percent grad- uation rate. Locals like Coach Williams know what it takes to succeed on and off the field, helping make Raleigh, NC a top destination for sports championships and events. Folks in the Raleigh area love their sports. In fact, they are downright passionate about it. Whether playing it, watching it in person or on TV or sup- porting it in any number of other ways, the Raleigh area has proven itself time and time again to be one of the most sports-friendly regions of the country. In fact, the National Association of Sports Commissions named Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) its 2015 Sports Tourism Organization of the Year. Event organizers benefit from strong partnerships between GRSA and more than 20 local organizations. GR- SA's seasoned professionals, supportive community and host partners ensure winning results. The area is a sports planner's dream, with world-class venues and first-rate hotels in a naturally beautiful region that is easily accessible, affordable and brimming with Southern hospitality. Raleigh is centrally located on the East Coast, about halfway between New York and Florida. About one-half of the U.S. population lives within a day's drive of Raleigh. The convenient location and opportunity to increase registration and attendance are key reasons why many sporting event rights-holders have selected Greater Raleigh. Superb, state- of-the-art venues add to the roster of what makes Greater Raleigh the choice destination for college, high school, youth and amateur sporting events. Venues like PNC Arena, Carter-Fin- ley Stadium at North Carolina State University and the WRAL Soccer Park, along with world-class facilities includ- ing WakeMed Soccer Park (home of the Carolina RailHawks NASL soccer franchise), the USA Baseball National Training Complex, Cary Tennis Park and the Triangle Aquatic Center, all located in the nearby town of Cary, can accommodate a versatile array of sports events. These spectacularly managed ven- ues have helped the Raleigh area claim sports destination "wins" for hosting events like the 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend, Ironman 70.3 Raleigh, USA Baseball Irish Classic, 2008, 2014 and 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball First and Second Rounds and Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh Marathon and ½ Marathon — which SportsTravel magazine named the "Best New Sporting Event" for 2014. One of the largest and most versa- tile venues in the area is the Raleigh Convention Center, located in the heart of bustling downtown Raleigh. Offering 500,000 total square feet of space, visi- tors find a facility complete with state- of-the-art amenities, stunning artwork (including the Cree Shimmer Wall), the latest technology for sound and lighting, as well as a 150,000-square-foot exhibit hall with flexible configurations. The roster of events the Raleigh Convention Center has hosted includes fan favorites like the Deep South Classic (400 girls' basketball teams!), USA Gymnastics Men's Region 8 Champi- onships, the Pop Warner Mid-South Cheer and Dance Championships, AAU Karate National Championships and the Mid-Atlantic Power League Volleyball Tournament, the largest convention cen- ter volleyball tournament in central N.C. "More than anything else, our people make this one of America's truly great sports cities," said Scott Dupree, exec- utive director of GRSA. "We have indi- viduals and organizations that are among the best in the world at what they do, in terms of recruiting, creating and hosting sporting events. That's why we chose the word 'Alliance' in our name, because it highlights our greatest attribute — our superb partners." In addition to Coach Williams, GRSA's advisory board is a who's who of local sports leaders including Brian Maloney, General Manager of Capital Sports Radio, Diane Sauer, City of Ra- leigh Parks and Recreation Director, and Dave Olsen, Executive Vice President of the Carolina Hurricanes and PNC Arena. In addition to myriad other services, GRSA can arrange site inspections of sports venues and hotels, secure propos- als and room blocks from area hotels, serve as a liaison between the event rights-holder and the local host orga- nization or venue and provide tailored maps and directions for travel, along with event outreach and promotion through social media. Find out how the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance's team of sporting event experts can help simplify planning and stretch budgets further, giving your event an added edge. n C Stellar Partners Key to Raleigh's Winning Streak D. Scott Dupree, Executive Director (919) 834-5900 or (800) 849-8499 firstname.lastname@example.org www.raleighsports.org Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance