Author: Ben Greer
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The Premier High School Basketball Holiday Invitational Returns, Highlighting Triangle’s Young Talent

Durham, NC (November 14, 2023) – The Durham Sports Commission (DSC) is excited to announce the return of the Champion Durham Classic. The event will be held from December 26-28 at Hillside High School, located at 3727 Fayetteville Rd, Durham, NC 27707. Action on the court kicks off at 3 p.m. each day. The complete game schedule and ticket packages for one, two, or all three days are now available. Those interested in volunteering during the event are encouraged to reach out through the event website.

“Returning for the third year, the Champion Durham Classic exemplifies our mission to celebrate and elevate young talent,” said Kaila’Shea Menendez, Deputy Director of the Durham Sports Commission. “The invitational goes beyond just competitive basketball; it serves as a platform that fosters diversity, education, and community spirit for each participating student-athlete. It’s an incredible experience to witness teams compete from the Triangle area, but even more exciting to offer unique programming that will help pave the way and contribute to their bright futures. Our vision has always been to deeply intertwine sports and community in Durham, and I urge all fans, families, and community members to join us in supporting these outstanding young athletes.”

For the second year in a row, the Champion Durham Classic remains committed to the Durham community through contributing proceeds from the Classic to the One Team, One Durham Fund (1T1D). 1T1D plays a pivotal role in supporting youth sports development in the community by providing essential grants to local non-profits. This initiative counters the escalating costs of youth sports, ensuring that every young athlete, regardless of their financial background, gets an equal shot at pursuing their sporting dreams. Attendees will have the opportunity to contribute even more by choosing to donate additional amounts when securing their tickets.

The Champion Durham Classic will proudly showcase a diverse array of teams, reflecting the rich talent across North Carolina. On the girls’ side, the event will feature Raleigh’s Millbrook High School Wildcats and the Knights from North Raleigh Christian Academy; local talents from Hillside High School’s Lady Hornets, Charles E. Jordan High School’s Lady Falcons, Southern Durham High School’s Spartans, and Durham School of the Arts’ Bulldogs. As for the boys, the lineup is equally thrilling with the Bulldogs of Durham School of the Arts, Hillside High School’s Hornets, and the Cavaliers from Hugh M. Cummings High School in Burlington.

The DSC will host educational sessions titled “More than the Game: What’s Next” during the invitational. These sessions, scheduled on Tuesday, December 26, and Thursday, December 28, at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., aim to guide student-athletes, parents, coaches, and others in understanding recruiting, personal branding, and name, image, and likeness (NIL). Prominent speakers include Dr. Ingrid Wicker-McCree, Mitch Moser, and Ovester Grays.

The DSC would also like to extend its gratitude to sponsors Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc., Marco’s Pizza, Durham Sports Club, and Sheetz. In a new collaboration, Sheetz will not only provide complimentary snacks for student-athletes and coaches throughout the Classic but also informal interview opportunities for student-athletes looking for employment.

In the heart of the Durham community, Hillside High School stands as a beacon of history and excellence, celebrating its 100th year of operation. Originally named after Hillside Park, this institution predates the desegregation of schools in the South, and it carries the distinction of being among the five remaining historically black high schools still running today. In a recent collaboration, the basketball courts of Hillside Park received a stunning refurbishment, thanks to the combined efforts of FILA USA and the Tamia and Grant Hill Foundation.

Tickets are $15 per day with two- and three-day ticket packages available for purchase at the door or by visiting

About Durham Sports Commission 

The Durham Sports Commission (DSC) is a collaboration of the City of Durham, the County of Durham, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and Discover Durham. The DSC was established in 2016 as a 501(c)(3) with a mission 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 and is operated by Discover Durham. The DSC provides leadership for sports-based initiatives and creates positive economic impact and quality of life in Durham and the surrounding region. Be sure to follow the DSC on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to keep up with all sports-related news in Durham, NC, and other announcements.


Author: Ben Greer
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ESPN announced that College Gameday is heading to Durham for Duke’s matchup with #11 ranked Notre Dame. The Blue Devils are off to a historic 4-0 start to the season, including their first win against a Top 10 opponent since 1989 and their highest AP Ranking (17) since 1994.

While the basketball equivalent has been to Duke more than any other school, this will be the first time since they took their show on the road in 1993 that the College GameDay crew will make their way to Durham for football. Celebrating its 36th year, GameDay is a college football staple that averages 2.2 million viewers every Saturday morning.

The iconic pregame show goes beyond the football analysis and trademark fan created signs. College GameDay not only brings attention to the team and to Duke University, it also provides a platform for Durham to showcase its spirit and its culture. It’s a testament to Head Coach Mike Elko and the Duke student-athletes for all their hard work in making Saturday a historic day for Durham and for Duke.

GameDay Details

College GameDay starts at 9:00 a.m. and runs until the first games of the day kick-off at noon. It will be held in Abele Quad in front of Duke Chapel. Parking opens at 6:00 a.m. and the GameDay gates open at 6:30 a.m. You won’t want to miss this historic day in Durham. Check out the full schedule for the day here.

If you are visiting from out of town for what is undoubtedly going to be an exciting day for Durham, check out this webpage with information on where to stay in Durham.

And if you can’t make it to the game, but want to be a part of the excitement, check out this blog post on the top sports bars in Durham.

GameDay Recap

While the game didn’t turn out the way we wanted, the Blue Devils fought hard, falling to the Fighting Irish 21-14 in the final seconds late on Saturday night. Despite the loss on the field, it was a victory of a day for the program, Duke University and for Durham.

According to ESPN PR, an average of 1,683,000 viewers and 2.2 million in the final hour tuned in to watch the 4,500 fans packed into Abell Quad. From Head Coach Mike Elko, to Durham’s Moe’s Original BBQ, to the hilarious Ken Jeong, the GameDay experience in Durham was clearly a hit. But that’s no surprise.

On top of that, ESPN PR also announced 5.5 million viewers tuned into the game on Saturday night. Not only was it the highest viewed game on the ESPN family of networks on Saturday, but it was the most viewed ABC Saturday Night Football game of the season so far. If that wasn’t enough, the 40,768 fans packed into a sold out Wallace Wade Stadium marks the highest attendance since 1989.

Safe to say all eyes in the sports world were on Durham on Saturday. We plan on keeping it that way.


*Edited on 10/3/2023

Author: Ben Greer
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Bid Symposium

On Tuesday, August 29th, the Durham Sports Commission traveled to Indianapolis for the 2026-2028 NCAA Bid Cycle Host Symposium. The DSC staff, along with Board Chair Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree, joined hundreds of representatives from across the country at the NCAA headquarters to learn what the NCAA is looking for in bids to host their future national championships.

The morning began with an introductory meeting where the DSC heard from multiple NCAA representatives, including NCAA President Charlie Baker.

Throughout the day, the DSC team members attended various championship-specific break-out sessions. These included Division I, II and III men’s lacrosse, women’s gymnastics, and Division II and Division II Festival, amongst others. They also met and spoke with multiple championship managers positioned throughout the building. Through these interactions, the DSC formed strong connections with the NCAA representatives involved.

The team also visited the NCAA Hall of Champions, honoring all current and past NCAA champions across all sports.

The symposium provided great information and clarity on what the different championships are looking for in potential hosts and highlighted items to focus on in each bid. The sessions placed a large emphasis on creating a memorable student-athlete experience and community support, specifically finding ways to incorporate diverse businesses into the overall experience.

“Our trip to the Bid Symposium was a great opportunity to prepare ourselves for the upcoming bid cycle. We are confident in Durham as a host for future NCAA events and are excited to continue to grow Durham as a Championship Hub.” – Executive Director Marcus Manning

The team is excited to showcase Durham throughout the bid process. We believe the passion for sports and unwavering community support makes Durham the perfect fit to host future NCAA Championships. Bid submissions are due this upcoming February, and host locations will be announced in October of 2024.

Grand Park Sports Campus

The next day, the team headed north of Indianapolis to Westfield, Indiana to tour Grand Park Sports Campus. Grand Park’s Matthew Trnian and Rachel Nelson toured the team around the complex and provided valuable insights. The tour included a look inside the multi-purpose events center, 31 multi-purpose turf and grass fields, and 26 baseball diamonds. The team learned about maintaining a large-scale facility and the positive economic impact it has on the surrounding area.

Additionally, the September 13-15 Inter-City Visit to Indianapolis hosted by Discover Durham, Downtown Durham, Inc., the DSC, and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce featured Grand Park. The over 70 business leaders, elected officials and additional Durham stakeholders in attendance visited and learned about Grand Park’s success and how we can continue to accelerate sports and tourism in Durham.

We remain focused on learning how to continue to make Durham a sports destination both today and in the future. We know that bringing championship-level events to Durham will continue to provide positive social and economic impact for our community.