Monday, June 20, 2022


My six-year tenure on the Durham Sports Commission just ended. The “Commissioners” gathered for a Bulls game on June 15th...and I said farewell.

While serving on the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce Board, I was among the founders back in 2015-16. Despite the preeminence of Duke athletics, NCCU and the Bulls, we felt strongly that Durham needed to do more to attract and promote sporting events. 

They are an economic engine for our hotels, restaurants, shopping and other attractions. The Sports Commission’s job is to pump fuel into that engine. We also promote youth sports in Durham and encourage local event organizers. The Commission is a funder, marketer and cheer leader.

The pandemic was a setback, but this year the DSC is on pace to support 19 events with an economic impact of $13 million.

Of course, this is sports, so there’s competition aplenty. Raleigh/Wake County has a prepared meals tax that funds sports facilities. The Town of Cary has a parks and rec system designed to host events. To the west, Greensboro has a world class aquatics center. To the east, Rocky Mount has an impressive baseball/softball/soccer facility and an events center with 8 basketball courts and auditorium seating for 4,000. 

What could Durham build? And where? We need a facility for both community recreation and a best-in-class sports center to host national tournaments. The DSC is crafting that vision with the very capable leadership of Executive Director Marcus Manning and our new Chairwoman Ingrid Wicker McCree.

Sports-related travel and tourism is a gigantic $40 billion pie in the US. Durham wants a bigger slice of that pie!