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USA Baseball-Irish ClassicThe third annual USA Baseball-Irish Classic swings into action in Cary this weekend, bringing together eight NCAA teams for a jam-packed three days of baseball at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. USA Baseball and the University of Notre Dame have partnered up again to bring one of college baseball’s premier early-season events. The event is presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.

The 2015 event has added two additional teams from previous years, and 12 games in total will be played over the weekend. University of Notre Dame will be joined by University of Cincinnati, East Carolina University, University of Iowa, North Carolina State University (NCSU), Penn State University, Richmond University and Seattle University.

“I think we’re looking for the same things we are every yearto have a really highly competitive field and to try and work toward making this, year-in and year-out, one of the best early season tournaments in the country,” said Notre Dame coach Mik Aoki on the upcoming event.

USA Baseball-Irish ClassicGames will be played Fri., Feb. 27, through Sun., Mar. 1. Each day features four games, with Sat. seeing more than eight full hours of baseball in Cary. NCSU will play East Carolina, primetime, Sat. evening on Coleman Field, which offers stadium seating for 2,000 spectators.

The full schedule:

Fri. (Feb. 27)
Cincinnati vs. Iowa – 1pm (All times ET)
Seattle vs. Richmond – 2pm
Penn State vs. NCSU – 3pm (Doak Field, NCSU)
East Carolina vs. Notre Dame – 5:30pm

Sat. (Feb. 28)
Cincinnati vs. Penn State – 12:30pm
Seattle vs. Notre Dame – 1pm
Iowa vs. Richmond – 2pm
NCSU vs. East Carolina – 5pm

Sun. (Mar. 1)
Seattle vs. Cincinnati – 10:30am
Penn State vs. Notre Dame – 11am
Iowa vs. NCSU – 1pm (Doak Field, NCSU)
Richmond vs. East Carolina – 2:30pm

**All times subject to change

Tickets can be purchased by visiting or by calling 574.631.7356 Mon. through Fri., 8:30am to 5pm. Tickets will also be on sale on-site at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. Note: Tickets to games at Doak Field are sold separately. Prices for a one-day pass are $12, a tournament pass is $30, and children under 12 get in free. Parking at USA Baseball National Training Complex is free.

USA Baseball-Irish ClassicFor the latest news on tickets, the schedule and more, follow @USABaseball, @NDBaseball and @raleighncsports on Twitter, plus use the hashtag #IrishClassic when posting your own updates to join in on the conversation.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon & 1/2 Marathon presented by WRAL benefiting The V FoundationThe Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance recently took to Twitter to count down 2014’s best sports industry moments in Greater Raleigh. There were countless numbers of great options to choose from, even when excluding Raleigh area teams’ regular season contests. Not everything could be included, but here are some of our favorite moments of the year. Did you have a personal favorite? Tweet us @raleighncsports and let us know. Here’s to another year of sports in 2015!

IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh2014 marked another banner year for sports tourism in Greater Raleigh. People traveled from all over the world to participate and spectate at many of the terrific sporting events held in the Raleigh area, including Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the USA Baseball-Irish Classic, NCAA Men’s College Cup, CASL National Soccer Series, the SAS Championship and many, many more.

Here’s what the year in sports tourism looked like through our lens. Click any photo to scroll through all images at a larger size. All photos taken by staff at the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance. Follow GRSA on Twitter and Instagram to stay in the know.

WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary NCThis weekend Greater Raleigh once again takes center stage of the collegiate and amateur soccer world when the NCAA Men’s College Cup returns to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. Four teamsUniversity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Providence College and the University of Virginia (UVA)will square off to decide the 2014 NCAA Champion. Two national semifinal games will be played Fri. evening with the championship game on Sun. Here’s everything you need to know:

1. Matchups and game times:

Fri., Dec. 12 | 5pm: UMBC vs. UVA (TV: ESPNU)

Fri., Dec. 12 | 7:30pm: UCLA vs. Providence (TV: ESPNU)

Sun., Dec. 14 | Noon: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (TV: ESPNU)

See the full tournament bracket at

2. Tickets:

Tickets can be purchased for the semifinal games ($30 for both games), the championship game ($20) or as an all-session pass ($43) HERE. Tickets are general admission and include parking fees. Print your tickets at home or have them waiting for you at will-call. Plan ahead and arrive early. Ticketing is being run by Campbell University, the official host institution of the 2014 Men’s College Cup.

3. Powerhouses:

UCLA and Virginia both sit inside the top five for all NCAA DI programs for most NCAA Tournament and College Cup appearances. UCLA, a four-time National Champion, is participating in their 32nd straight NCAA Tournament (42 appearances overall), along with making their 14th College Cup. Six-time National Champion Virginia has reached their 12th College Cup (and second straight) in their 36th NCAA Tournament. UCLA is the tournament’s number two seed; Virginia is the number 16 seed.

WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary NC4. Cinderellas:

This UMBC squad has reached a place no team at their university has gone beforethe Final Four. The unseeded Retrievers, who have won four games in a row in four different stadiums, are yet to allow a goal in 400 minutes of play in the NCAA Tournament. UMBC is no stranger to competition, however, as this is their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last five seasons.

Providence, this year’s Big East Champion (the program’s first), had never reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament before this season. Now the unseeded Friars find themselves just one win away from playing for the national title. The team’s 15 wins this season is the most in program history.

5. Visitor Info:

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau set up a website for visitors at On this page you’ll find:

  • Calendar of events across the area for this weekend
  • Accommodation info
  • Restaurants in the area
  • Area maps
  • and more

Visitors can also view the online version of the Official Visitors Guide to Raleigh, Cary and Wake County. While you’re in the area, stop by the Visitor Information Center in downtown Raleigh to find out more about the area and receive personalized recommendations for your stay.

Have questions while on the go? Tweet @visitRaleigh with any of your needs!

6. Fan Festival:

The Fan Festival will keep fans entertained before games on Fri. and Sun., located behind sections 109 and 110. The festival will open at 3pm on Fri. and 10am on Sun. The festival will include interactive games, face painters, concessions, merchandise and more. Tickets are required to access the fan festival.

7. A History of College Cups:

This year will mark the 10th College Cup (4th Men’s) to be hosted by the Town of Cary and WakeMed Soccer Park since 2003. Either a Men’s or Women’s College Cup was held in Cary from 2003 to 2010, and again in 2013. Next December, the women will return to Cary to crown another national champion.

College Cup in Cary NC8. Stay Connected

Want to keep up with the NCAA College Cup while in town (or watching from home)? Follow along on Twitter and Instagram (and post your tweets and photos) using the hashtag #CollegeCup, and make sure to follow the teams on Twitter: @UCLAMSoccer, @UVAMenSoccer, @PVDMensSoccer and @UMBCMensSoccer

As always, follow and tweet to @visitRaleigh for information on the Greater Raleigh and Cary areas.

One of the nation’s largest and most prestigious cross country events, the Great American Cross Country Festival, returned to Cary’s WakeMed Soccer Park Cross Country Course this past weekend for the sixth consecutive year. More than 2,500 runners from 140 high schools and colleges across the U.S. met in Cary on a beautiful morning, Sat., Oct. 4, and competed against each other as well as the 5k course. Results from the meet can be found on the Great American website.

Here are some photos from race morning. Click the photos to zoom in.

Great American XC 7

Great American XC 13

Great American XC 11

Great American XC 12

Great American XC 10

Great American XC 2

Great American XC 4

Great American XC 6

Great American XC 1

Great American XC 5

Great American XC 3

Great American XC 8All photos are courtesy of the Great Raleigh Sports Alliance. You can follow GRSA on Twitter at @raleighncsports and Instagram at @raleighncsports. There’s more cross country happening in Greater Raleigh this fall and you can see a schedule of sports events at

The 2014 edition of IRONMAN 70.3 Raleigh was another huge success. On Sun., June 1, more than 2,000 athletes were up for the challenge of a 1.2-mile swim at Jordan Lake, a 56-mile bike through western Wake County into downtown Raleigh and capped with a 13.1-mile run out and back on Hillsborough St. before finishing in City Plaza downtown.

Some photos from the race (photos via Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance; click to view full size):

Low 60's and beautiful at Jordan Lake to start the race

Low 60’s and beautiful at Jordan Lake to start the race

More than 1,000 volunteers make the event possible

More than 1,000 volunteers make the event possible

Athletes warm up in the water before the official race start

Athletes warm up in the water before the official race start

Athletes start the race in waves of 30-50 participants at a time

Athletes start the race in waves of 30-50 participants at a time

Volunteers help keep everyone safe!

Volunteers help keep everyone safe!

Transitioning from the swim to the bike

Transitioning from the swim to the bike

56-mile trek into downtown Raleigh

56-mile trek into downtown Raleigh

Smooth roads on a clear day

Smooth roads on a clear day

Run through downtown Raleigh

Run through downtown Raleigh

Amy marsh

Amy Marsh is the #IM703Raleigh female winner! (this photo via IRONMAN)


Rock 'n' Roll Marathon1. Rock ‘n’ what?

The inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon & ½ Marathon presented by WRAL benefiting The V Foundation for Cancer Research–a road race in Raleigh featuring 12,500 runners and 30 bands and cheerleaders lining the race course to keep energy levels through the roof. A free concert at Red Hat Amphitheater gets underway once runners start coming through the finish line.

1b. I know that – I’m running!

Awesome! Welcome to Raleigh and good luck, then. Check out for visitor information including restaurants and attractions. Also visit the Visitor Information Center in downtown Raleigh at 500 Fayetteville St. to have a local expert answer your questions.

2. When? Where? 

Sun., Apr. 13–runners take off at 7am. Race start line is at the corner of W. Davie St. and S. Salisbury St. in downtown Raleigh. Both the marathon and half marathon finishes will be at the corner of Davie St. and Fayetteville St. in downtown Raleigh. See the full course here:


3. So, post-race concert?

Runners take off at 7am, and bands will play all along the course all morning. In Red Hat Amphitheater, Love Canon takes the stage at 8am. They’re a bluegrass 80s band. At 10:15am, the medals ceremony will take place to recognize the day’s top runners, and then at 10:30am the headliner band plays. New Politics, a Danish punk rock band with recent U.S. mainstream hits “Harlem” and “Tonight’ You’re Perfect” will help race finishers celebrate their accomplishments into the afternoon. Southern roots band Old Habits will take things to the end of the event, 3pm.


3b. Where can I park? 

You’ll find this participant and spectator parking information helpful: PARKING INFO.

4. Come out and support on Sun.–got it. Anything else?

Yes! The Health and Fitness Expo will be held at the Raleigh Convention Center on Fri. from noon-6pm and Sat. from 9am-5pm. More than 80 exhibitors will be there handing out free samples and showing off the latest and greatest in running gear, sports apparel and nutrition.

On Sat., come out for the live music on S. Salisbury St. directly in front of the convention center. Bands will be on stage from 11am to 6pm, and beer vendors will be onsite as well. The weather forecast is terrific–you won’t want to miss out.

rnrblog25. How do I keep up with everything going on this weekend? 

Well, social media is your best bet. On Twitter and Instagram, check out the hashtag #RnRRAL. Post your photos and updates using that to get in on the action. Follow @runrocknroll on both Twitter and Instagram, and check out their Facebook page if that’s your thing, too. Locally, follow the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance on Twitter at @raleighncsports and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau at @visitRaleigh.

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship—March Madness—rolls into Raleigh for the second and third rounds for eight teams. Four games will be played Fri., Mar. 21, with advancing teams facing off in two games on Sun., Mar. 23, all at PNC Arena. This marks the 15th time the NCAA Basketball Tournament has been played in Raleigh and the third time the event is being held at PNC Arena.

Final FourThe field of 68 teams was announced on Mar. 16, and the following teams had their ticket punched to Raleigh: University of Virginia (1 seed); Duke University (3 seed); University of Massachusetts (6 seed); University of Memphis (8 seed); George Washington University (9 seed); Mercer University (14 seed); Coastal Carolina University (16 seed)

Tennessee (11 seed) outlasted Iowa in the First Four (first round played in Dayton, Ohio) to secure their spot in the Raleigh Regional late Wed. night to join the other seven schools.

Teams were greeted in Raleigh by fans, pep bands, cheerleaders, team hosts, local organizing committee members and enthusiastic hotel staffs as they arrived on Wed. and Thurs.

Hotel GreetingsFri. game times (all times ET): Duke vs. Mercer, 12:15pm; Massachusetts vs. Tennessee, 2:45pm; Memphis vs. George Washington, 6:55pm; Virginia vs Coastal Carolina, 9:25pm.

Sun. game times will be announced late Fri. night.

Outside PNC Arena, 2.5 hours before sessions, as well as in between sessions on Fri. and Sun., will be a Hoops and Hops FanFest, a tailgating atmosphere offering areas with adults brews, soft drinks, food and big screen TVs to watch NCAA Regional games. Other areas include a Food Truck Brigade with local food trucks on hand, a Game Watch area with large video walls displaying other NCAA games and a Fan Activity Zone with cornhole boards and basketball hoops for young fans. For full Hoops and Hops FanFest details, visit

Hoops and Hops FanFestTo follow the NCAA Basketball Tournament in Raleigh on social media, follow the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance on Twitter at @raleighncsports, NCAA hoops account @marchmadness, the event venue @PNCArena and host university North Carolina State University @PackAthletics. To get in on the action, find and use the hashtag #raleigh2014.

ImageVisiting fans should go to to find game information, FanFest information and more.

USA Baseball-Irish Classic logoThe USA Baseball-Irish Classic returns to Greater Raleigh for a second year this weekend, bringing in six teams for three packed days of early-season competition. USA Baseball and the University of Notre Dame have partnered again to create one of the premier events in the college baseball world this season. The event is presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance.

The 2014 field is headlined by last season’s College World Series champion University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Bruins, as well as the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Wolfpack–both teams are in Baseball America’s Top 10 to start the year. University of Michigan, Appalachian State University, Youngstown State University and host Notre Dame make up the rest of the strong field, creating one of college baseball’s signature events.

“I think you might be able to say, without knowing every preseason tournament out there, that this field is as strong as any other regular season tournament or NCAA regional,” Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki had to say of the competition.


Games will be played Fri., Feb. 28, through Sun., Mar. 2, at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary. NCSU will play Fri. and Sun. games on their home campus in Raleigh at Doak Stadium.

Sat. will feature four games in Cary, including almost 12 hours of baseball played and capped by powerhouses NCSU and UCLA going head to head on the main stadium field Coleman Field, which offers seating for 2,000 spectators.


The full schedule, courtesy of USA Baseball:

Fri. (Feb. 28)
Appalachian State vs. Youngstown State – 2pm (All times ET)
NCSU vs. Michigan – 3pm (Doak Stadium/NCSU)
Notre Dame vs. UCLA – 6:30pm

Sat. (Mar. 1)
Notre Dame vs. Youngstown State – 11:30am
Michigan vs. Appalachian State – 11:30am
Notre Dame vs. Michigan – 3pm
UCLA vs. NCSU – 6:30pm

Sun. (Mar. 2)
Notre Dame vs. Appalachian State – 11am
Michigan vs. UCLA – noon
NCSU vs. Youngstown State – 1pm (Doak Stadium/NCSU)

Tickets to games at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary can be purchased here (a weekend pass is $27 and day passes will be $12). Children under the age of 12 will be admitted free of charge.

Keep up and get involved with the event on social media using #IrishClassic and following @USABaseball and @raleighncsports on Twitter.


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