Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The New Tourney Town--Greensboro Coliseum Rakes in Millions

The city of Greensboro, centrally located in North Carolina, has something to be proud of. First of all, the Gate City is located about an hour and half each way from the state's two biggest cities. Charlotte is on one side and our state capital ,Raleigh,is located towards the eastern side. Greensboro still has a long way to go before it catches the likes of these two big cities in population and prestige. However, one way Greensboro is carving its' own identity is with its coliseum. The city is lucky to have had the foresight nearly 50 years ago to conceive this complex and actually implement the idea. Tim Rice, in our Greensboro News & Record, reported that the coliseum has drawn in hundreds of millions of dollars to our area.

The city hosted the Women's ACC Tournament recently and then hosted the first two rounds of the Men's NCAA Tournament. Those two events filled our town's hotel's and restaurant's and the total economic impact was estimated at $23 to $25 million. Attendance records were set for both events. The women's tourney mark was set at 73,187 and the men had the highest attendance of any 1st and 2nd round site at 62,711. Rice is hoping along with the rest of us that we earn the title of "Tourney Town".

Basketball has been great, but the coliseum has pulled in big numbers in the music area as well. Concerts like Bon Jovi,The Eagles, The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, and an upcoming sold out Taylor Swift have come or are still coming and people are showing up in droves. Also, Greensboro landed the 2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships that will bring in thousands from around the country and should yield an estimated $30 million impact. The coliseum has been hosting 750 to 850 events a year, and the city thinks we can still do better.

The city has an approved swim center through a bond referendum that should be started in the near future, and it will possibly be located on the coliseum property. Also, the proposed ACC Hall of Champions might be built on the site. $2 million has already been awarded by the state for this project.

As you can see, Greensboro, has done a good job in promoting itself through the help of the coliseum. But I ask, what will it take to be great? What will it take to have Greensboro mentioned in the same breath as other large cities across our nation? It takes leadership and planning! We have to build on what we have done but not stop there. When the economy rebounds, Greensboro might be able to position itself to make a charge. The coliseum can only help!

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