Long ago, the city of Greensboro was known as a textile town, saturated with mills, factories and blue-collar workers. But today, the city is better known as “Tournament Town” for its wealth of athletic venues – courts, fields, stadiums and even pools. Greensboro has been host to the men’s and women’s ACC basketball tournaments, the PGA Wyndham Championship and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The Greensboro Coliseum Complex employs more people than the legendary Cone Mills, once known for being the world’s largest producer of denim. You’re much more likely to see a mass of blue uniforms than blue collars. While advanced manufacturing operations still play an important role in Greensboro, more often it is the basketball courts and baseball fields that are the center of attention and the center of the economy.
- Greensboro took its first step into the national sporting arena in 1938, when the Jaycees founded the Greater Greensboro Open golf tournament, with a total prize of $5,000.
- Today, the tournament is one of the oldest on the PGA Tour, and is known nationally as the Wyndham Championship.
- The championship returned to Sedgefield Country Club in 2008. The prize now totals $4 million plus, with the winner banking about $900,000.
- Like Greensboro, the Wyndham Championship continues to technically evolve to retain relevancy in today’s wireless world. In 2010, the tournament became the first in PGA Tour history to allow fans to carry their cell phones and PDAs around the course, and the championship’s marketing team developed the first iPhone app for use on the course.
Located in the center of North Carolina’s famed “Tobacco Road,” Greensboro is home to several major national basketball championships.
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
- In 1966, the ACC men’s basketball tournament was played at the Greensboro Coliseum, and has since hosted the event more than any other city.
- The men’s event has dribbled through three incarnations of the Coliseum: the original arena opened in 1959 with 9,000 seats, an expanded arena in the 1970s accommodating 16,000 spectators, and the latest expansion in the 1990’s that increased capacity to 23,000.
- The ACC Women’s basketball tournament has made Greensboro its home since 2000.
- In 2011, the ACC Hall of Champions opened in the Special Events Center of the Greensboro Coliseum, where much of the conference’s basketball history and tradition has taken place.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
- The Greensboro Coliseum has been the frequent host of first and second round NCAA regionals leading to the “Final Four” during “March Madness.”
- As host of the tournament in 1974, Greensboro ranks as one of the smallest cities to be selected as a site for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s “Final Four.”
Basketball and golf aren’t the only sports with major events in Greensboro. A diverse group of athletic games and events call the city “Tournament Town.”
- The 2011 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships completed its 9-day run in Greensboro with an amazing total onsite attendance figure of 161,592.
- The National Bass Masters tournament has competed several times at High Rock Lake with daily fish weigh-ins held at the Greensboro Coliseum in sold-out attendance numbers.
- Greensboro has hosted wrestling tournaments, including the Super 32 Challenge, the UNCG Southern Scuffle college wrestling tournament and the North Carolina High School State Wrestling Championships.
- The Greensboro Grasshoppers baseball team, Single-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins, plays at NewBridge Bank Park in downtown Greensboro, April through September. The ballpark features North Carolina’s largest outdoor sports bar for adults, the Go Triad GrandStand.
- Having opened in August, 2011, the 78,323-square-foot indoor Greensboro Aquatic Center (GAC) is a state-of-the-art facility featuring leading edge concepts in aquatic design. The GAC brings together all major aquatic sports – competitive swimming and diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and other unique sports all in one venue. The GAC fully meets NCAA and FINA standards and offers Greensboro the opportunity to host high school and collegiate events, USA Swimming meets, Master’s swimming and U.S. Water Polo events as well as a myriad of local, regional, national and international competitions. The $19 million Greensboro Aquatic Center hosted the U.S. Masters Swimming spring national championship in 2012.