This article was written for our sponsor, CBRE|Triad

Sports are a major component of Greensboro’s identity, so much so that the town has branded itself “Tournament Town.” In the 1990s, there was a community-wide movement to attract sporting events to the area, giving rise to the Tournament Host Committee of Greensboro, which rebranded to the Greensboro Sports Foundation under a 501(c)(3) designation in 2018. The rebranding aimed to strengthen the national reputation of Greensboro as a destination for major sporting tournaments.

It’s a reputation built on legacy. Seventy years ago, the ACC was founded in Greensboro, and the organization’s championships were among some of the first tournaments to be hosted in the city. As ACC Championships have successfully been hosted in Greensboro, the town has attracted a greater number of national events and maintains a robust tournament schedule, including aquatics, basketball, and volleyball. These events have a profound impact on the local community.

“2023 has been a big year for us. In March, we had three major basketball tournaments: the Men’s ACC basketball championship and then the first and second rounds of the NCAA. We call that our Tournament Town Trifecta. Greensboro is the only city in the United States that’s hosted three major basketball tournaments back to back and that was the third time we had done it. In February we [also] had the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Swimming and Diving Championships,” said Richard Beard, President and CEO of the Greensboro Sports Foundation.

Greensboro Sports Foundation anticipates another strong season of competitions. Throughout the Fall, it is predicted that sporting events will generate 26,000 room nights for local hotels and contribute $200 million to the local economy. Not only does it impact Greensboro, but hotels often sell out, and people make reservations in nearby cities including Winston-Salem and Durham. Because of this impact, the statewide community strongly supports athletics in Greensboro. “Greensboro takes a real pride in hosting these events and supporting [them]. And it certainly is a great marketing tool for our community,” added Beard.

At commercial real estate services provider CBRE|Triad, they are seeing how the demand for sports can be a catalyst for growth for the market. “The sporting industry is a great way to entice people from outside our market to visit and enjoy what the Triad has to offer. As these events grow, it will provide a strong case for more commercial development and economic growth,” said Christy Smith who specializes in retail brokerage services.

In recent years, some focus has shifted from collegiate-level sports to youth sports. Coming out of COVID, the community felt the positive impact it had in Greensboro. “We found that youth sports is recession-proof,” remarked Beard. Between July 2020 and October 2022, youth sports generated over 750,000 room nights and approximately $265 million in economic impact. This trend has made the Greensboro community eager to welcome youth sports into the area.

Fortunately, Greensboro has the infrastructure to support these events. “The Greensboro Coliseum Complex is just an incredible economic driver for our community. It’s not just the arena; it’s the flexibility of our Event Center,” said Beard when discussing the facilities Greensboro has to offer. In addition, the community is investing $5.9 million in upgrades to the Bryant Park soccer complex that will enable it to attract national events for years to come. Still, Tournament Town is looking to expand this infrastructure to support a greater diversity of events. “We’re planning other facilities. For instance, we want to build a stadium for soccer and lacrosse championships and possibly house a professional soccer team. We’re looking at investing in new facilities, but there’s a lot of conversation behind where would we put that soccer stadium and the ability to develop around it,” continued Beard.

Ultimately, Beard feels Greensboro is poised for growth. “Greensboro and the Triad are getting ready to go through a renaissance with all these jobs and the industries that are coming here. We’ve got the opportunity to grow and grow smart, so that’s opening up a lot of opportunities for new development, whether it be multifamily or some commercial retail opportunities. We need restaurants, we need nightlife opportunities here, and then of course, with our growth around here, we’re always going to see an increased need for industrial products,” remarked Beard.

“The Triad market as a whole is experiencing a lot of growth in terms of economic development and jobs that in turn spurs growth in the retail sector,” added Smith. “We are seeing new concepts, specifically restaurants, enter the market and look at opening multiple locations. The retail industry remains strong in this area, which should only aid this growing sports industry within our market.”

This article was written for our sponsor, CBRE|Triad