The Durham Sports Commission (DSC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create economic and social impact by leading the community’s efforts to attract, support and promote youth, amateur, collegiate, and professional sporting and recreational events. The DSC seeks to maximize the potential of Durham’s sports facilities and venues, as well as provide leadership and guidance to the public and private sector on developing athletic facilities and programs to positively benefit the quality of life of the citizens of Durham.
A Note From the Chairman of the Board
I’m not the first to comment on how difficult the pandemic has been, and the Durham Sports Commission isn’t the only organization that has proudly pivoted in the face of unprecedented circumstances. During such a period, however, I am profoundly grateful for the leadership of this nonprofit and the work that has been accomplished behind the scenes by the DSC to ensure long-term, transformational social and economic impact for Durham.
I want to start by first acknowledging the impact our new Executive Director, Marcus Manning, has made since assuming his role in October 2020. With over 18 years of intercollegiate athletics leadership experience, Marcus has brought his innovative approaches, contagious enthusiasm, and commitment to the benefits of sport to Durham. Though on-boarded during the pandemic, he wasted no time forging new partnerships, deepening relationships, and creating new storytelling opportunities to keep the DSC relevant and present in the community. As we celebrate the DSC’s five-year anniversary and past successes, we’re eagerly working together to plot a transformational path forward for sports in Durham over the next five, 10, 20 years and beyond.
I would first like to welcome India Johnson, the DSC’s Sports Services and Internal Operations Coordinator, who was added to the team in the spring. In addition, I would like to recognize and thank Alyssa Duke, former Senior Manager of Events & Operations, for investing her energy, talent, and time in establishing a great foundation for the DSC. I wish Alyssa well in her future endeavors.
This annual report shares more specific details on the team’s accomplishments over the past year as well as a look at the nonprofit’s body of work since 2016. It is fun to look back and think of the many firsts the DSC has experienced – from supporting local events and awarding grants to hosting national championships and launching new partnerships – while appreciating the firsts that are still occurring. In this past fiscal year alone, the DSC introduced a strategic new Sports Tourism Committee, explored new eSports opportunities and rolled out many new marketing efforts. The team has worked tirelessly over the last few months planning to put on premier events – the inaugural Champion Durham Classic to be held on December 27-29 and the 2021 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Football National Championship & Senior Classic Game scheduled for December 18 and 17 respectively. This is the first NAIA championship game held by the sports commission.
As we continue to find ways to be resourceful to event owners and support the local sports scene, a few of you might have also heard that we contracted with industry experts the Sports Facilities Advisory to execute a feasibility study for a new sports facility. The results and endorsements are nothing short of exciting. We plan to continue conversations with community leaders, neighborhood associations, local sports groups, and other key stakeholders for the development to be as thoughtful and inclusive as possible, working to ensure it becomes a true community asset that benefits all Durham residents for generations to come.
In such a time of uncertainty, I know for sure that we couldn’t have gotten to where we are without the support, constructive feedback, encouragement, and time of many. I want to thank you all for your contributions as we continue our work to help shape the Durham of the future. I encourage you to stay tuned and keep up to date on the DSC’s latest work by following the DSC on social media or subscribing to our monthly newsletters. I look forward to engaging with you over the next year and collaborating to build the rich sports history in Durham.
Board Chair, 2020-21
Board of Directors
Our board of directors is comprised of admired leaders in the Durham community dedicated to the future of sports in our region. Members provide guidance in achieving the DSC’s mission to increase participation within the Durham community for local sporting events, and work with new event owners to bring their competition to the City of Champions.
Dan Hill – Chair Retired Insurance Broker, Former President of the Carolinas Golf Association, Former Partner of the Orange County Speedway
Susan Scott Vice-Chair Senior Director of Advancement & Marketing UNC-TV
Mitch Moser Secretary/Treasurer Deputy Director of Athletics/ Resource Development and Management/CFO Duke University
Omar Beasley Self Employed
Terrence Holt President Holt Brothers, Inc.
George Habel VP/Special Projects Capitol Broadcasting Co.
Tommy Hunt Retired Former ACC Referee and Supervisor of ACC Football Officials
Bill Kalkhof Retired, former CEO of Downtown Durham Inc. (1993-2013)
Jonathon Leach Executive Director of Administration NCCU
Economic Impact in FY21
Economic impact calculates the visitor spending related to sports tourism and the economic value sporting events bring to the community.
Year in Review
DSC’s Five-Year Anniversary
While the DSC board first convened in August 2016, the DSC was formally established as a nonprofit organization operated by Discover Durham a month later. At the time, the City of Durham, Durham County, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and Discover Durham were parties to a three-year interlocal agreement. In April 2020 the DSC interlocal agreement was rewritten to operate in perpetuity, with the DSC added as a signee to the agreement.
This means, in seemingly the blink of an eye, the DSC turned five years old in September 2021. It’s a great occasion to look at the nonprofit’s complete body of work – as opposed to reviewing accomplishments year-over-year as is typically done in annual reports – as well as look to the future of the DSC and sports in Durham. A few distinguished highlights of the sports commission include:
Granting over $428,000 over a four-year period, an average of $107,000 per year, to support local events and event owners across Durham.
Partnering with Duke University to win the 2023 National Collegiate Fencing Championships and the 2025 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championships.
Winning the rights to host the 2021 & 2022 NAIA National Football Championships and Senior Football Classic.
Launching Bull City Gaming and collaborating on many eSports initiatives, including weekly Fortnite Tournaments at the beginning of the pandemic, the Triangle eSports Championship, and DBAP Gaming Challenge, which was nominated for two Sports Travel Awards.
Hosting the 2019 USATF National Youth Outdoor Championships, coordinating with the national governing body to recruit the best youth track athletes to the Bull City for a week of competition.
Owning and operating ACC Baseball FanFest, bringing together the community for free, family-friendly street festivals in the spring of 2018.
Introducing its Advisory Committee, welcoming community discussion and input on the future and importance of sports in Durham and the sports commission’s effectiveness.
Sponsoring the RDC Marathon & 5K event, the first marathon to ever take place fully within Durham County that has drawn thousands of participants and raised funds for ALS research.
The following charts reflect the income and expenses of the DSC from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. With fewer events to create, host, or support due to the ongoing pandemic, the DSC has retained funds in anticipation of fueling future activity. Actual FY21 expenses were, therefore, more concentrated in operational areas than what was originally planned.
Social Media Highlights from FY21
As part of the brand awareness plan, the DSC has engaged with social media followers by sharing upcoming events and other highlights. Be sure to follow @DurhamNCSports on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to stay connected.
The Durham Sports Commission Celebrates Women’s History Month with Panel Discussions