Greater Raleigh: 20 Years of Sports Event Tourism

In 1998, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau established a sports marketing department. Fast forward 20 years and the department has grown from a staff of one to five and is now known as the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA), following a rebrand in 2012. The results of its efforts over the last 20 years include: 1,100 events hosted, 1.9 million hotel room-nights generated and $660 million in direct visitor spending.

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. This convenient location and opportunity to increase registration and attendance are key reasons why many sporting event rights-holders have selected Greater Raleigh.


Superbly managed venues have helped the Raleigh area claim sports destination “wins” for hosting major events over the last 20 years. Here’s a sampling:

  • NHL All-Star Weekend & NHL Draft
  • NCAA March Madness (4 times)
  • NCAA College Cup (12 times)
  • NCAA Baseball Division II World Series (9 times)
  • 53 NCAA championships across all sports and divisions
  • ACC, CIAA and MEAC championships in a variety of sports
  • More than 150 NCHSAA state championships
  • Deep South Classic (girls basketball)
  • Mid-Atlantic Power League Volleyball Tournament
  • Great American Cross Country Festival
  • Showcase Series (soccer)
  • State Games of North Carolina
  • USA Baseball events


In addition to a myriad of other services, GRSA can arrange site inspections of sports venues and hotels, secure proposals and room blocks from area hotels, serve as a liaison between the event rights-holder and the local host organization or venue and provide tailored maps and directions for travel, along with event outreach and promotion through social media.

Sports tournament participants and spectators visiting N.C.’s capital city will discover a place that’s unabashedly unique, creative and charming beyond the playing field. In the various parts of our city and the greater area, friendly locals welcome those visiting to participate in authentic and memorable experiences that appeal to a wide range of tastes and interests—culinary fusions, museum exhibitions, outdoor concerts and more.

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. Visit to get started.

“More than anything else, our people make this one of America’s truly great sports cities,” said Scott Dupree, executive director of GRSA. “We have individuals 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.”

Scott Dupree, Executive Director
Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance

(919) 834-5900, (800) 849-8499