Greensboro sports continue to thrive

from Ryan Murray at the Greensboro Sports Examiner:

Although the Greensboro Sports Examiner has been absent for the last three months, sports in the city of Greensboro have been anything but.

Over the last quarter, Greensboro has seen the United States Figure Skating Championships, two Top 25 basketball teams and the home town UNC-Greensboro Spartans continue to get better on the basketball court.

“The United States Figure Skating Championships was one of the biggest events Greensboro has ever hosted,” said Scott Johnson, Deputy Director of the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. “With over 150,000 people combined coming through the gates with the Championships and other events surrounding it made it tremendous success. Both the city and the Coliseum continue to get rave reviews from attendees, the United States Figure Skating Committee and the North Carolina 2011 organizing committee.”

With over ten hours of national coverage from NBC, the US Figure Skating Championships helped solidify Greensboro as a big time city to host major sporting events.

“The success of the Figure Skating Championships opens the door for future events to continue to use our assets – the Coliseum, the largest hotel between Atlanta and Washington in the Sheraton Four Seasons and our proximity to the east coast and middle of North Carolina. It allows us to put on a national championship event in a non-major league city,” Johnson said.

“I say that in a positive manner,” Johnson continued. “Cities our size can host major events better than larger ones because we don’t have the distractions of professional sports. We can take big events and make them even bigger and better in Greensboro and North Carolina.”

In addition to the United States Figure Skating Championships, the city of Greensboro has also seen both the Duke Blue Devils and the Tar Heels of UNC play at the venerable Greensboro Coliseum. Forever connected, Greensboro fans were witness to Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski overtaking former North Carolina head coach Dean Smith on the all-time NCAA wins list to move to the number two spot when the Blue Devils defeated the UNC-Greensboro Spartans on December 29.

“Outside of doing it in Cameron” Indoor Stadium Krzyzewski said in an article by the Associated Press, “this is the place you would want to do it.”

Prior to the Duke visiting Greensboro, the Tar Heels took on the University of Texas in an out of conference battle for supremacy.

“The UNC-Texas game was a second game of neutral site of doubleheader, with the first being played in Dallas, Texas,” Johnson said. “We sold 20,000 tickets to that game and anytime you can sell 20,000 tickets to any event is a huge success.”

The reason for the success of that game was not only because the Tar Heels were coming to town but because of the way the staff at the Coliseum made it possible for most anyone to get to the game.

“We marketed the game much differently than others,” Johnson said. “We chose to start tickets at a low price of $10 and there was a reason for that. We wanted to create an opportunity for the blue collar Carolina fan to see their team play. With the low ticket prices, we gave families the chance to come out and see the Tar Heels play when they may not have normally had the chance to.”

Having such success in the last three months, the staff at the Coliseum isn’t slowing down. The month of March will see the ACC Women’s Tournament as well as the ACC Men’s Tournament. March will also see the opening of the ACC Hall of Champions.

“We have ambitions to bring other Olympic Trials to the city at this point, including the United States Gymnastics Olympic Trials and the United States Olympic Swimming Trials,” Johnson said. “The new aquatic center would hold the warm up trials and the competition pool would be built temporarily in the Coliseum.”

As far as the future of sports in Greensboro is concerned? It’s a bright one according to Johnson.

“With the success we have seen over the last three months, we feel make we made great strides in hosting events again for at least the next four to six years.”

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