Visit Greenville, North Carolina made waves in the sports tourism industry earlier this month when it announced the launch of the Greenville-Pitt County Sports Commission, beginning July 1, 2019.

The new sports commission has been charged with increasing economic impact and creating a lasting impression for the county by providing superior sports tourism experiences by utilizing everything the region has to offer.

“We are excited to launch the Greenville-Pitt County Sports Commission as an active division within Visit Greenville, (North Carolina),” said Andrew Schmidt, President and CEO of Visit Greenville, NC.  “Our vision has always been to grow Greenville-Pitt County into a premier sports destination within North Carolina and the Southeast and the creation of a sports commission will help us achieve that goal.”

The sports tourism industry within the United States continues to grow each year, generating $11.4 billion in direct spending in 2017.

Visit Greenville, NC capitalized on the growth in this sector in the fiscal year 2018-2019 by hosting 63 sporting events and tournaments, generating nearly 20,000 hotel room nights and achieving an estimated economic impact of more than $13.6 million to the local Greenville-Pitt County economy. These sporting events included several statewide, regional and national tournaments like the US Tennis Association North Carolina 65 and Over State Championship, the National Junior College Athletic Association Region X Baseball Tournament, the USA Rugby Club 11s National Quarter Finals and more.

Two new full time staff members have been added to the new Greenville-Pitt County Sports Commission. Gray Williams will serve as executive director, while Paul Sheehan will serve as director of sports development.

“We are thrilled to grow our sports tourism efforts within our community,” Williams said. “Adding the new Sports Commission to our destination portfolio and working with our advisory board and partners will increase opportunities to recruit larger events, and help us gain national recognition as a sports tourism destination.”