What’s so special about Raleigh?
A wise man once noted that when it comes to traveling, “the people make the place.” No matter how innately beautiful your surroundings are, it’s the local people who will make or break your vacation experience. If you change “vacation experience” to “sports event hosting”, this adage becomes doubly important. Will the local community extend your athletes a warm welcome? Is the host city excited to roll out the red carpet for large groups of visitors? Beyond the world-class sporting venues, your participants and spectators will find themselves energized by homegrown experiences created by Raleigh’s passionate residents.
North Carolina’s Greater Raleigh has managed to pull off the difficult feat of combining a stunning natural backdrop with a supportive, sports-obsessed community to offer you and your athletes the perfect location to compete, bond and vacation. Centrally located, easily affordable and filled to the brim with Southern hospitality, Raleigh’s natural beauty is just the cherry on top of this stunning city and its friendly neighbors. Raleigh is the ideal host for any sports event that comes its way, but it’s eagerly awaiting yours in particular. No wonder Forbes Travel Guide named Raleigh as one of their global “12 Top Destinations of 2017.”
What does Raleigh have to offer my teams?
From concerts and outdoor movies to climbs on the highest indoor climbing wall in a five-state radius and adrenaline-pumping BMX rides, the opportunities for entertainment in Greater Raleigh are as varied as they are abundant. No matter what your teams’ interests are, they’re sure to find their own perfect adventure during their stay. Outdoor enthusiasts can discover why Men’s Health ranked Raleigh one of the “10 Most Adventurous Cities in America” with a variety of hiking trails, kayak tours and one-of-a-kind parks, while athletes who want to stay inside can enjoy some of America’s best shopping malls and museums. Regardless of your inclinations, Raleigh locals suggest all young visitors try looking for excitement at Triangle Rock Club and the Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex.
Let us connect you with Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance
- Greater Raleigh has an extensive track record of hosting events of all sizes and types
- Arrange site visits to sports venues, facilities and hotels
- Serve as liaison between event rights-holders and local host organizations or venues
- Housing: Secure proposals and room blocks from area hotels; track hotel room nights generated by your event
- Photography and social media marketing (@raleighncsports)
- Increase awareness of your event through established relationships with local news outlets
- GRSA’s services department rolls out the red carpet for the event planners, participants and their families
- A sampling of services provided by GRSA for your event: welcome signs and banners at the airport, participating hotels and venues, collateral materials to event planners and participants to familiarize visitors with the destination, area information booths to familiarize visitors with the Greater Raleigh area
The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance was a cornerstone of USA Baseball’s decision to relocate to the Triangle, and that decision is validated on a daily basis. With ongoing support from the GRSA, USA Baseball has been able to bring some of the game’s most high-profile events to our community including the USA Baseball-Irish Classic, the USA Baseball National High School Invitational and the United States Olympic Team in 2008. The GRSA has also been at the forefront of the creation of our organization’s most all-inclusive player identification event, the National Team Identification Series, which attracts thousands of visitors to the local area each fall. The GRSA’s leadership is responsible for generating economic impact for the local community, and as such, we cannot imagine a more worthy recipient of the 2015 NASC Sports Tourism Organization of the Year award.
– David Perkins, Chief Operating Officer, USA Baseball
[We are] beyond delighted to get started on 2018 with GRSA and a city that rolls out the royal treatment for the Rock ‘n’ Roll community. I’m truly at a loss for words by how accommodating and welcoming the entire city was, a lot which I know your organization had a hand in facilitating. From the hotel itineraries, printed race weekend information in hotel lobbies, welcome signs across town and on the street light poles, down to the little balloon running men. Not that I would expect anything less from Raleigh, let alone having worked with you over the past months, but I can truly say I’ve never been to a city that embraced us on race weekend as much as Raleigh did. Amazing Southern hospitality. Thanks again. Can’t wait to get started on 2018.”
–Cecilia Lindsay, Competitor Group, Inc.
I cannot adequately express how welcomed, supported and appreciated we feel by you and your entire organization. The GRSA is a model sports-directed civic support organization. Your love of our wonderful city and commitment to its success and future development is evident in all that you do. Both the City of Oaks Challenge and MAPL Raleigh were tremendo usly successful. Again, we cannot thank you enough for your enthusiasm and support of what we do.”
–Sherry Fadool, Executive Director, Triangle Volleyball Club
GRSA is hands down the best sports commission/CVB we have ever worked with. Even though our event wasn’t a huge one, you guys made us feel like we were extremely important and that means a lot to us. You guys treated us like kings while we were down there, and we can never thank you guys enough.”
–Christian Smith, Vice President of Baseball Operations, CollClubSports
We travel to college regattas all over the country, but there’s something special about having a home regatta in Raleigh. Visiting sailors and coaches who come to Raleigh enjoy the hospitality and a community welcome like few other sailing venues. We could not have asked for a better partner than the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance to host and promote the 2016 SAISA SailPack Women’s Regatta. They understand how great a place Raleigh can be for a college sporting event and were great to help us grow our event. Their knowledge of community resources for hosting, housing and hospitality were integral to the success of our regatta.”
–Dana Magliola, Head Coach, N.C. State Sailing
Can I get some quick facts about Raleigh’s facilities?
Sports: Hockey, basketball
It isn’t hard to figure out why PNC Arena welcomes over 1.5 million guests every year. Home to NC State Men’s Basketball and the Carolina Hurricanes NHL team, this arena annually hosts more than 150 events. Amenities include over 68 concession stands, 37 restrooms and parking for 8,000 vehicles. For hockey games, the arena can seat 18,680 and for basketball, it can accommodate 19,722 fans.
WakeMed Soccer Park
Sports: Soccer, cross country, lacrosse, rugby, Ultimate
At 150 acres, this multipurpose complex is one of the hottest sports destinations in North Carolina. The park features one lighted stadium field, two lighted match-only fields and five additional fields, with permanent stadium seating for 10,000. WakedMed hosts events that range from youth to professional level, and offers concession areas, locker rooms, restrooms and 2,600 parking spaces. Additionally, the park has an outstanding cross country course with 5K, 6K and 8K runs.
USA Baseball National Training Complex
This nationally renowned complex offers four baseball fields –one stadium field and three training fields- that are maintained at MLB standards. The stadium field has a press box and seating for 1,760 people, and all four fields have access to restrooms and concession areas. The complex has hosted the National High School Invitational and a variety of other baseball events.
Raleigh Convention Center
Sports: Volleyball, basketball, wrestling, martial arts, cheer, dance, gymnastics
With its easy floor plan and soaring ceilings, Raleigh Convention Center’s 150,000-square-foot Exhibit Hall provides the perfect space for indoor sports of all kinds. Seating and concession areas are available upon request, and the hall can be separated into two or three separate rooms upon request.
Cary Tennis Park
The award-winning Cary Park offers 29 championship courts, four permanent QuickStart courts, a snack bar, a pro shop and several ball machines. The ACC Tennis Championships, USTA Tennis on Campus National Championships and Boys NCHSAA State Championships were all hosted at the park in 2015. New covered courts were completed in July of 2017.
WRAL Soccer Park
Sports: Soccer, lacrosse, Ultimate
Located in northern Raleigh, this 21-field complex includes five brand new synthetic turf fields with lighting. Recent renovations include paved parking, new restrooms and shelters, new nets and improved landscaping. WRAL Soccer Park has hosted state, regional and national events that bring in thousands of teams every year, including the annual CASL visitRaleigh.com National Soccer Series. Some of these events have been the U.S. Youth Soccer Southern Regionals, U.S. Lacrosse Southeast Championships, U.S. Open Ultimate Championships and Powerade State Games of North Carolina.
Triangle Aquatic Center
Sports: Swimming, water polo
As the largest public aquatic complex in North Carolina, Triangle Aquatic Center offers three pools: a 50-meter Competition Pool, a 25-yard Program Pool and an Instructional Pool. The facility has seating for up to 1,000 fans, a full service café, scoreboards and a “dry land” fitness area. The Competition Pool can easily be configured to hold eight long-course lanes or 18 short-course lanes, while the Program Pool is set up with 10 lanes. Triangle Aquatic Center has hosted a remarkable number of swim meets this year alone, including the NCHSAA Swimming State Championships and the National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet.
Walnut Creek Softball Complex
Sports: Softball, baseball
With nine top-tier, lighted fields, Walnut Creek is one of the premier softball venues in the Carolinas. The complex comes with closed dugouts, bleacher seating for 1,000 spectators, scoreboards for each field and ample parking space. Five of the nine fields can also be arranged to accommodate baseball games. The complex is undergoing renovations and is scheduled to re-open in 2018.
Triangle Table Tennis
Sports: Table Tennis
This 30,000-square-foot facility offers unique features to serve all levels of table tennis players. The facility dedicates 25,000-square-feet for practice, training and event space. Gerflor Taraflex Sport flooring, high intensity lighting and 17-foor ceiling clearance makes this the perfect venue for table tennis players. 40 Butterfly Centerfold tables can be arranged as needed and allows the center to support 18 regulation competition sized courts. There are even robots available for rent for individual practice sessions. The facility houses several large restrooms that include showers, lockers and changing areas.
Capital City BMX at Lions Park
Capital City BMX is a bicycle motocross race track that is located in Lions Park. Racing season here is year-round, weather permitting. The venue has hosted many national and regional events such as the USA BMX Tar Heel Nationals, Redline Cup Finals and East Coast Nationals. Admission is free to audiences. Raleigh’s BMX program is sanctioned by the American Bicycle Association.
So, how do I get the teams there?
Snuggly tucked away in the heart of the Southeast, Raleigh and its neighboring cities are easily accessible by either plane or car.
By Car: Raleigh is nestled between I-40 and I-440, with connections to highways 70 and 401. I-85 and I-95 also pass within 25 miles of the city. Major cities under six hours from Raleigh include Richmond, Virginia; Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Jacksonville, Florida.
By Air: Only an 18-minute drive from the city center, RDU International Airport is readily available for teams interested in flying. Southwest, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue and United Airlines all service the airport.