SportsEvents Magazine

NOV 2017

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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November 2017 36 www.sportseventsmagazine.com t SPORT Report Cup qualifiers will be held in late 2017 and early 2018, including a meet- ing between the USA and Mexico in Greensboro, N.C. Greensboro Sports Commission President Kim Strable, CSEE, credited a joint effort between the city's NBA G League team, the Greensboro Swarm; its parent organization, the Charlotte Hornets; and USA Basketball for being selected as the site for a FIBA World Cup qualifier. "This event is expected to attract professional basketball representatives and basketball fans from across the country and is an exciting addition to the Coliseum Complex lineup," he said. Slam-Dunk Events Executing championship events requires established partnerships or being open to building them with sports commissions and CVBs, according to Ruedlinger and Tooley. "There is no shortage of great basket- ball facilities and community partners," Tooley said. "And we are very fortunate to have a lot of relationships around the country with organizations to host our events." Ruedlinger emphasized a key advan- tage of multi-court facilities versus those with single courts: "It's easier to manage and offers lower cost of operating the event." Staying close to the YBOA headquar- ters' home in Orlando and utilizing its relationship with the city's nearby attrac- tions offers another built-in advantage for Ruedlinger's organization. "We can offer a vacation along with the tournament," he said. Still, other areas of the country, such as North Carolina, are nearly synony- mous with basketball, for everything ranging from the popularity of the sport and success of local programs to the routine selection of its facilities for major tournaments and events. Winston-Salem, for example. "Winston-Salem is home to six col- leges and universities, including Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University, and has hosted numer- ous basketball events at various levels," ranging from local collegiate competition to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Men's and Women's Conference Championship Tournament, said Bonny Bernat, CSEE, senior sports and events sales manager for Visit Winston-Salem. The city's facility offerings can accom- modate a variety of event needs, she said, from 14,000-plus at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum to up to 4,000 at the Winston-Salem Annex to local YMCAs and high schools with multiple courts under one roof. "Winston-Salem's passion for sports has led to discussions on a potential new multi-court venue that could be available in 2019," Bernat said. "Having Wake Forest University here in Winston-Salem is a huge asset to our community. The connection that Wake Forest has with the NCAA and ACC really helps in terms of opportunities that might not come directly to us." Just about 30 miles away, Greensboro, the site of FIBA's Basketball World Cup qualifier, is no stranger to events such as the NCAA Men's and Women's First and Second Round games, a Men's Final Four, and ACC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. "Mix in Amateur Athletic Union age group national championships, a wide range of high school tournaments and the NBA's G League Greensboro Swarm, and it becomes clear that basketball is a 'prime time' sport in central North Carolina," Strable said. He credited a recent $24 million ren- ovation of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex featuring 22,000 arena seats with "exceptional sight lines" as part of the draw for premier basketball competi- tion events. "Without a doubt, the tremendous success of collegiate men's and women's basketball programs in our state and region for several decades has piqued interest in the sport and has often trans- lated into Greensboro being selected as a host site for championships at all levels," Strable said. "Even the decision by the Charlotte Hornets to plant their G League team in Greensboro is, in my view, a recognition of the strength of college basketball and its loyal fan bases within our footprint." Unbeatable Future Strong fan support, investment in facili- ties and continued interest in basketball among all ages of the game indicate good things ahead for the sport. "The future looks quite bright," Tooley said. "We're in a great position to contin- ue to grow." Ruedlinger offered a more realistic assessment in that the future is hard to predict but he was nevertheless optimis- tic. "The good thing about our market," he said, "is that there's so much of it you can't saturate it." n Frank "Shake 'n Bake" Streety, an original Harlem Globetrotter, leads youth during a Morning Star Basketball Clinic through Youth Basketball of America (YBOA).

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