Stephanie Decatur Is Living the Dream in Fayetteville, N.C.

By Bethany Bradsher, November 8, 2018

If Stephanie Decatur appears to pour endless energy into her task of bringing sporting events to Fayetteville, North Carolina, that enthusiasm might be explained by the fact that she is exactly where she wants to be.

“It was one of those kind of dream jobs,” says Decatur, sports sales manager at Fayetteville Area CVB. “When you’re in the hospitality industry, once you reach a certain level, your two goals are to work for a convention and visitor’s bureau and/or a chamber. So the opportunity arose, and I found the CVB here in Fayetteville, and it’s been a dream come true. I’ve had a fantastic journey since I’ve been here. I enjoy everything I do.”

In the two years since Decatur took over selling sports in Fayetteville, she has become increasingly convinced that her adopted city has everything a sports competition organizer might need in a host site. Fayetteville has proximity to a major highway (Interstate-95), top-notch facilities, eager tourism employees and, most importantly, robust partnerships between the many groups that help make a major event a success.

Focused and enthusiastic marketing from Decatur and her colleagues have helped pull the veil back on Fayetteville and dramatically increase the number of sporting events being staged there. From 2016-17 to 2017-18, the city jumped from 47 athletic events and tournaments to more than 70. One catalyst for that growth is Decatur’s willingness to travel to conventions and other gatherings to spread her message to event planners.

Because of the area’s mild climate, Fayetteville has always been a popular destination for baseball and softball events. Recently a host of other sports—including cheerleading, motorsports, wrestling and color guard—have also staged large events in the city.

The Super Bowl returns to Atlanta, but that’s hardly the only sporting event to watch for in 2019.

The story behind the steady growth of the NAGAAA World Series has lessons all planners, LGBTQ or otherwise, can learn from.

Director of Sports Tourism Danny Trosset discusses rebranding from Seminole County to Orlando North Seminole County.

Greg Economou, head of sports for Ticketmaster North America, discusses what's ahead for ticketing in the future.