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State Games Leave Greensboro, Head to Raleigh

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RALEIGH — Raleigh scored another big athletic event Wednesday. TheState Gamesare coming back next year following a three-year stay inGreensboro.

Organizers say the games will have a direct economic impact of nearly $3 million, and that is just part of the payoff.

"This is a large sporting event. It's a significant sporting event," said Scott Dupree, sports marketing director.

The State Games of North Carolina will pump big money into the Triangle, but there may be an even larger benefit. It could boost the area's effort to land the Pan American Games in 2007.

If you add the State Games to the CIAA tournament, you get a sense of momentum.

"We're adding to our inventory of major events we've proven we can bid for, obtain and host successfully. I think you can almost look at it in terms of our resume and portfolio. Now we can add State Games of North Carolina to it, and we're very proud to add that to the resume," said Dupree.

"Raleigh's really made a pretty drastic change, I would say, in the last two years of really trying to attract athletic events," said Barry Pennell,N.C. Amateur Sportspresident.

Pennell says Raleigh's experience in hosting previous State Games and this year'sSpecial Olympics Summer Gamesis key, and there are other reasons.

"It was here before, but I think now there's some willingness as well as some corporate support and some support by theGreater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau," said Pennell.

The State Games could bring anywhere from 11,000 to 20,000 athletes to the area. That is more than the Special Olympics, and it is spread out over a couple of weekends.

"I don't think you can compare this to the Special Olympics in terms of the way Special Olympics engulfed the entire triangle," said Dupree.

The State Games will generate $2.8 million; the Special Olympics World Summer Games brought in $60 million in direct spending.

In the next year, Greensboro is losing the State Games and theCarolina Hurricanesto Raleigh.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Lynn French, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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