December: World University Games Update

Yes, this is your end-of-December 2029 FISU World University Games News Update arriving ahead of schedule. During the holidays there are many other things to occupy your time and interest, so we decided to get ahead of the crush and give you the latest news on the World University Games and related items as an early holiday gift! Get caught up now, and enjoy the holidays more later!

Your Vote Needed for the World University Games

The World University Games and our Local Organizing Committee CEO, Hill Carrow, have made the finals of SportsEvents Media Group’s 2024 Readers’ Choice Awards and your vote could help bring home the gold! To cast your vote and help Hill and the Games finish atop the podium, click on the link below to go to the Readers’ Choice Award ballot. There, in the very first category entitled “Best Live or Virtual Sports Event Planner”, please click on “Hill Carrow, World University Games.” You can then either scroll to the bottom and click submit, or we would encourage you to also cast a vote for one of our North Carolina sports destinations listed in the “All-Star Destination Partner” category (last category on the ballot) where you can click on either “North Carolina Sports Association – SportsNC” or “Play Greenville, NC Sports” or “Visit Winston-Salem”, then click Submit. Voting closes on Tuesday, January 2. Your support is important and can help win the day, so please click the link below to vote today:

The 2024 Reader’s Choice Awards: Vote Now! – SportsEvents Magazine

Town of Cary Prepares to Open New USA Baseball National Headquarters

Ever since USA Baseball announced in 2002 that it would move from Tucson and make the Triangle its home, a new headquarters for the Olympic National Governing Body has been part of the plan. In the beginning, the City of Durham stepped up and provided USAB with 7,000 square feet of free office space for 10 years in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (DBAP). This worked well for USAB’s staff until it came time to upgrade the DBAP with new team clubhouses to accommodate the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championships as well as Duke University’s Varsity Baseball Team. While the DBAP, the Durham Bulls, and Capitol Broadcasting Company (a World University Games Partner) have continued to host USA Baseball’s International Friendly Series Games – typically during July Fourth Week against Japan – even more recent DBAP enhancements mandated by Major League Baseball have left no room for USAB. To make the situation more challenging, over the last two decades here in the Triangle, USA Baseball has grown its staff from a handful in 2002 to over 40 today, and its national merchandising operations which are also located here have grown tremendously as well.

Enter the Town of Cary which had already developed USAB’s four-field National Training Complex (NTC) – a World University Games Training Venue – that opened in 2006, at Thomas Brooks Park in west Cary. In recent years, the Town was able to strike an agreement with USAB for a 20-year lease extension that included the construction of a new headquarters building at the USAB NTC. That new building is nearing completion and the Town and USAB are expected to host a Grand Opening Celebration in mid-April of 2024. This week, thanks to a special tour by USAB CEO, Paul Seiler, we were able to get a sneak peek at the new facilities, and we wanted to give our readers a special preview.

The new building is 40,000 square feet, sits adjacent to, and overlooking the main stadium field, and helps form an impressive main entry area at the NTC. The USAB HQ takes full advantage of the proximity by providing an attractive indoor/outdoor VIP and game-day hospitality space where guests can take in the on-field action from the patio. The most-talked-about aspect of the new facility is likely to be the indoor full-size infield for athlete training that can be converted into eight pitching/batting lanes.

The building will serve as the office and administrative headquarters for USA Baseball and will also include warehouse space to support the expanding USAB merchandise sales operations. The Town of Cary will have offices in the building as well. The office space has been thoughtfully and strategically designed not only to accommodate a still-growing staff but also to help ensure the organization both celebrates its past and stays focused on the future. Towards that end, full-size wall graphics and images capture key moments and achievements of USAB while the generous deployment of the Los Angeles Olympic logo will keep USAB moving forward towards the all-important 2028 LA Olympic Games.

Paul Seiler said, “We are thrilled with our partnership with the Town of Cary. The addition of the new headquarters building will consolidate our staff and operations, feature a world-class indoor training facility, and present excellent hospitality and sponsor opportunities that will help take USA Baseball, our athletes, and our national teams to the next level.” Hill Carrow, who led the region’s Bid Committee that successfully recruited USA Baseball to the Triangle, had this to say, “Bringing USA Baseball to the Triangle has been one of our region’s greatest sports tourism success stories. USA Baseball has experienced strong growth since relocating here. Their programs, operations, events, and recognition have expanded exponentially. Importantly, USA Baseball’s presence enhanced our World University Games bid, and we look forward to working with USAB to deliver the best possible World University Games ever in 2029!”

Big Opening to the Month of December

In the beginning days of this month, North Carolina’s University Hub roared out of the blocks with two of the most significant championship events in the U.S. taking place simultaneously – the 2023 Toyota U.S. Open swimming championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center (2029 World University Games Swimming and Diving Venue) in Greensboro and the 2023 NCAA Women’s College Cup – the national championship for Women’s Collegiate Soccer in the U.S., at WakeMed Soccer Park (2029 World University Games Rugby 7s Venue) in Cary, NC.

The Toyota U.S. Open ran from Thursday, November 29 to December 2 and featured over 800 swimmers primarily from the U.S, but also representing a number of foreign countries. There were 33 Tokyo Olympians competing in the event, including such well-known Olympic athletes as Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky. The meet served as a qualification event for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, so athletes converged on Greensboro to get themselves in position for a medal run in Paris next summer. While doing so, they succeeded in achieving an impressive 14 new championship records! The Toyota U.S. Open received network broadcast coverage on NBC, official U.S. broadcaster for the Paris Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, the top four teams in Women’s Collegiate Soccer in the country – BYU, Clemson, Florida State, and Stanford – met in Cary to determine this year’s national collegiate soccer champion. In the semifinals on Friday, December 1, Stanford beat BYU 2-0 and Florida State moved past Clemson with a similar 2-0 score. Both Stanford (20-0-4) and Florida State (20-0-1) were undefeated going into the championship game, a first in the history of the Women’s College Cup. Florida State won the game in dominating fashion 5-1 in the Monday, December 4, finale which was broadcast on ESPN+ and ESPNU.

Kudos to the City of Greensboro and the Greensboro Sports Foundation, and the Town of Cary and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance for two well-attended and well-run events that bode well for our future World University Games venues and operations.

News Briefs

The Durham Sports Commission hosts the NAIA Football National Championship Game between Keiser University of Florida and Northwestern College of Iowa on Monday, December 18 at Durham County Stadium. The game gets underway at noon.

Of the four NCAA Championship titles won by Atlantic Coast Conference schools this fall, three (Cross Country, Field Hockey, and Soccer) have been in Women’s sports and one (Soccer) has been in Men’s sports. Of those, two were captured by our local Host Universities for the World University Games, NC State (Cross Country) and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (Field Hockey).

We wish all the best to our friends, families, partners, and supporters for a wonderful holiday season and outstanding start to the new year!

Support the Games

Be a vital part of championing the world’s premier event for student-athletes! Bringing the 2029 World University Games to our state promises unparalleled economic advantages for our communities. Seize the chance to spotlight North Carolina on the global stage! Click below to explore the myriad of ways you can contribute and support the Games.

Don’t Forget to Shop Local and Support the WUG

Our online store features 2029 FISU World University Games t’s, polos, hoodies, tanks, caps, and more. Items come in a wide variety of colors, and the store has proven to be quite a popular online shopping destination. Don’t miss your opportunity to show your support of the 2029 FISU World University Games by snagging some excellent quality, name-brand clothing and caps!