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Durham for the Win: City of Champions

Posted by Ashley Strahm on Mar 7, 2019 1:01:17 PM

There's a reason why they call us the City of Champions.

Home to beloved teams like the Durham Bulls Baseball Club, the Duke University Blue Devils, the North Carolina Central University Eagles, and the Tobacco Road Football ClubDurham is no stranger to sporting events or the athletes and spectators who love them.

We've got championship caliber talent written into our history books. We're mere minutes from the nearest international airport — so you can get from home to the playing field with ease. There are 30 colleges within 50 miles of Durham, and three within the city itself.

Here's why both spectating and competing in Durham is both the easiest and most rewarding decision you'll make.

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Hallmark Historical Talent

From the collegiate to the professional level, in all modes of sport, Durham has had athletes perform to their highest potential on our playing fields. After all, cult favorite "Bull Durham" was shot here in the Historic Durham Athletic Park (1926-94) that's still home to NCCU baseball games in the Central Park District. What followed is now the state of the art Durham Baseball Athletic Park that opened in 1995. The 10,000 seat ballpark will host both the championship winning Durham Bulls and ACC Championship baseball well into the future.

The Durham Bulls Baseball Club, founded in 1902, is the Triple-A baseball affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays and is the most famous minor league baseball team in the country thanks to Bull Durham, the best sports movie of all time according to Sports Illustrated. The team plays 72 of 144 regular season home games at the 10,000 seat Durham Bulls Athletic Park. In 2009, the Bulls won their first Triple-A national championship, in 2011 earned their 6,000th win in franchise history, and in 2018 won their second straight Governors' Cup title, and sixth in team history.

Durham’s already created Olympians, and true to our nature, we believe the next generation of Olympians will soon compete in this community of trailblazers. We’re where student-athletes come to excel at prestigious universities and tournaments, taught by Olympic caliber coaches like Dr. LeRoy Walker and Al Buehler. Records were also set here by world-class track stars Lee Calhoun and Dave Sime.

The athletes of years past are worth being excited about, but so is the pedigree of our collegiate sports world leadership. In March of 2018, North Carolina Central University Athletic Director Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree was named the Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year after coaching both volleyball and softball at NCCU, becoming the first coach in school history to win conference titles in multiple sports. 

Then, there's Coach David Cutcliffe, who is taking the Duke University football program to new heights. Experience both present day magic and Blue Devil history before football games at Wallace Wade stadium; the Duke Basketball Museum & Sports Hall of Fame is here to relive some of the university's biggest moments. 

The renowned Coach K needs no introduction. In 38 seasons at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski — a Naismith Hall of Fame coach, five-time national champion and 12-time Final Four participant — has built a dynasty. No coach in Division I men’s basketball history has won more games than Coach K’s 1,100.

Allow yourself to bask in the aura of glory.


Spectate in Style

The 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship  is returning to Durham from May 21-26 this year, and so are a host of opportunities to enjoy the great game in style.

As the City of Durham celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019, the Durham Bulls are throwing it back to 1902. That year, the Durham Tobacconists took the field as Durham's first professional baseball team, with the name an ode to the agricultural industry at the time. As no images of the Tobacconists team of 1902 can be found, the Bulls are proud to unveil a modern take on these "fauxback" uniforms. 

Be there when the Durham Bulls transform into the Durham Tobacconists for five games in 2019!

The game will be a tasty endeavor, as well. The Durham Bulls will feature a variety of new food items at Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the 2019 season, highlighted by the team’s Wiener Waffle, Mac and Cheese Dog, Patty Melt, Waffle Mac and Mushroom Swiss Burger. All items have been created by Bull City Hospitality, the Bulls’ food and beverage company.


On your way here? No sweat.

There are myriad transportation options for traveling to Durham and getting around after arrival. Interstates 85 and 40, plus US Highways 70 and 15-501, connect Durham to the rest of the country.

More than half of the US population lives within a day’s drive or an hour’s flight of Durham. Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), an east coast hub, ranks as one of the nation’s fastest-growing airports and serves Durham and the rest of the Triangle region of North Carolina. Durham and Raleigh co-own the RDU airport, which is located midway between the cities.

We are proud that Durham as a central location along the Atlantic Coast, even as the Conference footprint has expanded. This means marquee match-ups that you'll be talking about long after you've returned home.


Unparalleled universities

Durham is home to national championships, hall-of-fame coaches, the site of the first interracial basketball game, more state high school basketball titles than any other community in the state, and the backdrop for the best sports movie of all time according to many outlets.

The Duke University Blue Devils compete in 25 NCAA Division I sports in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), but the Duke men's basketball team and its home arena, Cameron Indoor Stadium, are the most notable. That team's resume includes four NCAA championships, 10 NCAA championship games, 15 Final Fours, 11 national players of the year, and 71 players selected in the NBA draft.

The North Carolina Central University Eagles compete in 14 men's and women's NCAA sports as members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). In 2012, NCCU completed a five-year transition to the NCAA Division I (Football Subdivision), which will bring even more national recognition to the historically black university.


Fierce fandom

Think you can just show up at NC Central and make some sort of bird sign on a poster to show your school spirit? Wrong. Better brush up on your Eagles' wings. Think you can slap on some periwinkle and pass it off as Duke blue in the stands? We can't guarantee you won't be stuck in the shade for that one. 

Okay, don't worry  it's not that serious. (Maybe it is.) Don't spend too much time speculating... sometimes, you just have to be here. We give new meaning to fandom, and there's no better way to soak in the love than to compete on our courts, fields, and in our stadiums. 

For all of the sporting events happening in Durham this season, remember to to check out our sporting events calendar.


Topics: Sports, Sports & Recreation, sports events

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When people wish someone a great trip, they say “Bon Voyage.” We want you to have a great trip to Durham, the Bull City – so Bull Voyage!

Read on for everything you need to know about events and things to do in Durham, NC. Check back regularly for new photos, lists, and guides, so you can explore Durham like a local.

Do you have a tip or comment? You can reach us at blog@durham-cvb.com

Visit us in Downtown Durham

Durham Visitor Info Center
212 W Main St #101
Durham, NC 27701

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