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Work on Triangle's Pan Am Bid Should Help Recruit Other Events

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RALEIGH — The Pan Am bid committee poured lots of energy and money into winning a shot at hosting the 2007 games, butthey lost to San Antonio.

It could be years before the Triangle pursues another event on the scale of the Pan Am Games. Three hundred people from North Carolina spent two and a half years putting the Pan Am bid together.

It was a crushing defeat for the North Carolina bid committee, but the pursuit of the Pan Am Games should help the Triangle attract other high-profile sports events.

"There are a lot of positives having gone through the process of putting such an extensive bid together and really taking a hard look at the facilities and infrastructure," said Martin Armes of the Raleigh CVB.

Local sports venues like the Dean Dome were inspected by experts during the bid process and deemed world-class. The committee also wrote a three-volume game plan for hosting dozens of sports in the Triangle.

"First of all, we put together a 1,000 page bid book that everyone is going to have access to for any event they want to bring in," said Barry Pennell of theN.C. Amateur Sports Association.

Raleigh's new arena has already lured the CIAA basketball tournament away from Winston-Salem. The tournament is expected to pump $26 million into the Triangle.

The impact also extends into sports facilities where local kids play. Triangle venues will keep improving and expanding in hopes of attracting bigger tournaments. Members of the bid committee say the possibilities are endless.

"We know since we still have people in Colorado Springs now for theOlympic Congressthat they're probably going to come back with a lot of other ideas," said Pennell.

The Armed Forces Games are looking at the Triangle as a possible site which involves 6,000 athletes from all over the world.

There are also some championship events within the Olympic movement that North Carolina could bid on.


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