GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Soccer is a growing sport and the Greensboro United Soccer Association’s President knew as it grows in popularity, so will the demand for a facility that can host major tournaments.
That’s why Pete Polonsky pushed for an expansion of Bryan Park, to keep Greensboro’s position as the top tournament town for soccer in America.
“Now there's lots of options and we are the best option for that in North Carolina and we're one of the best options in the country now,” Polonsky said.
The expansion was a combination of public and private money, with $3 million of the $4.5 million project coming from the city. That money turned into five new fields, bringing the Bryan Park total to 21, creating two turf fields, installing more lights for night games and making more fields regulation size.
While Polonsky says Raleigh still has a complex that is bigger than Greensboro’s for events, Bryan Park has more regulation-sized fields available because of this adjustment. Now they can start bringing in bigger and better tournaments, which means more money in economic impact.
“Last year the projections were $31 million, this year they're projected to be $45.8 to $46 million,” Polonsky said. That’s roughly a $15 million increase in 2018 over 2017, the difference being this expansion. This year Bryan Park will host what Polonsky calls nine “significant events,” three of them being major tournaments.
“We're now able to host because of the additional fields and the additional capacity and the amenities are five-, six- and seven-day events. So now you got people staying in hotels a lot longer than one or two nights. And that's what drives the economic impact,” Polonsky said.
But just because the upgrades are complete doesn’t mean Polonsky’s work is done. Now they have to get the word out even more.
“It's one thing to have a great facility, we have to keep continue out there and market it, because it's a competitive business,” Polonsky said.
Bryan Park will host major national and regional soccer tournaments in April, June and December of 2018.