Asheville Citizen Times: Asheville's U.S. Cellular Center Tapped to host 2018 Fed Cup First Round Match

United States' team celebrates during the awarding ceremony after winning the Fed Cup final match between Belarus and USA, in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Nov.12, 2017. United States defeated Belarus 3-2 and gained the Fed Cup title. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (Photo: The Associated Press)

United States' team celebrates during the awarding ceremony after winning the Fed Cup final match between Belarus and USA, in Minsk, Belarus, Sunday, Nov.12, 2017. United States defeated Belarus 3-2 and gained the Fed Cup title. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (Photo: The Associated Press)

Asheville Lands Three-Year Contract to Host Major International Cycling Event

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Contact: Demp Bradford

Executive Director

Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission 



Stephanie Brown

President and CEO

Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau




ASHEVILLE, NC (October 5, 2017) – Asheville will play host to the prestigious, international cycling event, Haute Route, this spring, thanks to a collaborative effort between the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission and Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau to land the event. Additional assistance in securing the three-year commitment came from the City of Asheville and Buncombe County Recreation Services. More than 300 riders from across the United States and Europe are expected to participate, resulting in more than $1 million in total economic impact.

Asheville will be the first of three domestic locations to host a shorter, three-day format of the global cycling series. Scheduled May 18-20, 2018, the event will begin and end each day in downtown Asheville, allowing cyclists and their families to explore. The first Haute Route held in North America was in Colorado in June 2017. The seven-day, point-to-point event was won by Brevard resident and renowned cyclist Matthew Busche.

“Asheville has a long history of hosting cycling events, and we are excited to bring the Haute Route experience to the region,” said Demp Bradford, executive director of the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission. “Haute Route Asheville will have the flair of the European cycling experience with good southern hospitality.”

Asheville hosted Tour DuPont in 1994 and 1995 – Lance Armstrong won the race into Asheville in 1995 – as well as the 2015 and 2016 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, the 2016 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships and Cycle North Carolina.

“Hosting the first Haute Route on the East Coast will continue to build on our reputation as a world-class competitive biking destination,” said Stephanie Brown, president and CEO of Explore Asheville.

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“Haute Route has a history of attracting riders from across the U.S. as well as internationally, with many of the riders coming early and staying late to acclimate and to enjoy the area surroundings. While they are here, we know the participants will experience the best the area has to offer and will help share our story when they return home.”

During a recent site visit, organizers for Haute Route conducted a test ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway that included 18 local cyclists. In addition to its natural landscape, Asheville was deemed attractive because of the number of professional cyclists who have moved to the area to train.

The event will include timed segments strategically placed throughout the routes. Participants will navigate roughly 100 miles each day and will conclude with individual time trials on Sunday morning. The winner will post the best times over all three days and segments.

The rides will encompass the scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with the exact route to be announced early next year. Registration and the pre-race briefing will be on Thursday, May 17.

Buncombe County welcomes 3.8 million overnight guests, providing a customer base that assists in the sustainability of businesses in the community and contributes to tax revenues.  Annually, tourism generates a $2.9 billion economic impact to the region.


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About the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission

The mission of the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission is to identify and attract sports events and related meetings to enhance the health, wellness and quality of life for area residents and sports enthusiasts and to generate a positive economic impact by promoting the region as a recognized sporting destination.

About Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau  

Explore Asheville works under the oversight of the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to execute an extensive strategic marketing and sales program that inspires visitation and group meetings and travel while showcasing more than 1,200 business. Visitors annually spend $1.9 billion in Buncombe County, yielding an economic impact of nearly $3 billion. Explore Asheville also provides support on the Tourism Product Development Fund and connects partners to free marketing opportunities that appeal to visitors.  


Haute Route Cycling Series Expands to 11 Events in 2018 with Three New U.S. Editions

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 San Francisco CA, Cedar City, UT and Asheville, NC to host new 3-day events

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (October 12, 2017) -- Following the final event of the 2017 Haute Route Cycling Series around Mont Ventoux last weekend, Switzerland-based OC Sport announced a full calendar of 11 events for the 2018 season, including three new events in the U.S. The company’s commitment to the U.S. market reaffirms Haute Route’s position as the preeminent global multi-day event series for amateur athletes. Staying true to the hallmarks of every Haute Route, each U.S. event provides amateur riders with the authentic pro experience on and off the bike.  Athletes experience the best roads in the country and are fully supported with premium services typically reserved for the pro peloton.

The 2018 season will open with the inaugural three-day Haute Route San Francisco (April 20-22), a three-day event that will give riders the opportunity to experience the Bay Area’s fierce local cycling culture, breath-taking views and appreciate iconic landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge. The season will continue in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina with the three-day Haute Route Asheville in May (May 18-20). There, the peloton will be immersed in the region’s unmistakeable mountain vibe and awe-inspiring scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi.

The final new three-day event on North-American soil next year will be the Haute Route Utah (September 14-16), which will be held in Cedar City in September. Combining stunning red rock scenery and charming back roads over coveted high plateaus and summits, Utah promises three remarkable days of cycling.

The new three-day events build on Haute Route’s first seven-day U.S. event launched in 2017, the Mavic Haute Route Rockies. This event returns for a second edition in Colorado from June 23-29, 2018 and will once again feature the iconic hard packed dirt roads, high altitude passes and beautiful panoramas that make Colorado the heartland of American cycling.

Additional new global events include the Maserati Haute Route Norway and a revamped three-day Haute Route Dolomites and Haute Route Stelvio.


SAN FRANCISCO April 20th to 22nd

ASHEVILLE May 18th to 20th

STELVIO June 8th to 10th

MAVIC ROCKIES June 23rd to 29th

ALPE D’HUEZ July 13th to 15th

MASERATI NORWAY August 3rd to 5th

PYRENEES August 18th to 24th

ALPS August 26th to September 1st

DOLOMITES, 3 days in September

UTAH September 14th to 16th

VENTOUX October 5th to 7th

Both of Haute Route’s flagship events in the Alps and Pyrenees will see rejuvenated courses next year. The Alps, from August 26 to September 1 returns to its North to South route, departing from Megève to reach Nice with a host of world-renowned Alpine cols in-between. The Pyrenees, from August 18-24, will both start and finish in Pau, while also visiting a number of host towns throughout the week, allowing riders to discover the raw beauty of this mountain range.  These seven-stage long, timed and ranked events are the pinnacle of the 2018 Haute Route calendar, and will allow hundreds of amateur riders from across the globe to fulfill their cycling dreams in iconic mountain ranges.

Returning for a second edition in 2018, the three-day events in Alpe d’Huez, from July 13-15, and Ventoux from October 5-7, will once again showcase two of the most storied climbs in the history of cycling. The much-awaited Maserati Haute Route Norway will take place from August 3-5. Riders will experience an extraordinary setting for cycling in the Stavanger region. Snaking through the Norwegian fjords and drinking in the deep-rooted cycling culture, riders will undoubtedly be captivated by the Haute Route’s first Scandinavian adventure.

In order to visit the most legendary climbs in Italian cycling, the Haute Route Dolomites will take on a new format in 2018, splitting into two separate three-day events. Taking place in September, the three-day Haute Route Dolomites will trace a sensational route through the highly recognizable jagged rock faces and demanding climbs of the region. In addition to this, the new three-day Haute Route, Stelvio will be hosted in Bormio from June 8-10. As one of the most recognizable and respected climbs in cycling, the Stelvio has been much in demand by the Haute Route peloton and Bormio provides the perfect location for the new three-day Haute Route event.

Brand new in 2018, riders have the option to either ride the Haute Route as a solo rider or as a duo (team of two cyclists). Riders registering as a Duo will not be included in the individual standings; Duo rankings will be established based on the time of the second member of each Duo team to cross the finish line every day.


 Registrations are currently open to the general public for the Mavic Haute Route Rockies and Haute Route Alpe d’Huez.
Alumni riders currently have access to an exclusive 7-day registration phase for the Haute Route Alps, Pyrenees, Ventoux, Maserati Norway, San Francisco, Asheville, Utah, and Stelvio. Registration to all these events will open to the general public on Thursday 19 October.

All riders can also pre-register for the 3-day Haute Route Dolomites.
All details are on 

U.S. Media Contact:

Katrina Younce: 310-995-3619 /


Mountain Invitational Basketball Doubleheader set for December 17, 2017 at the U.S. Cellular Center

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Mountain Invitational Press Release:

The Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission and the US Cellular are proud to announce the return of the Mountain Invitational to the US Cellular Center on Sunday, December 17, 2017. This college basketball doubleheader will tip off with Wofford playing High Point at 2:00 pm and the second game will feature UNC Asheville and Western Carolina at 4:30 pm. The Mountain Invitational was previously a men’s and women’s doubleheader at the US Cellular Center between UNC Asheville and Western Carolina and was held between 2001-2004.

To Purchase tickets: Tickets are available for purchase at the US Cellular Center Box Office, online at or by telephone at 800-745-3000.

For Sponsorship Information: Please contact Chris Corl at or Demp Bradford at


“The Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission is proud to once again partner with the US Cellular Center and put together a great day of college basketball at the US Cellular Center. We would like to thank Janet Cone for her perseverance in helping make this event a reality. This is a great opportunity to showcase the rivalry between the Bulldogs and the Catamounts and host a matchup between two excellent programs in High Point and Wofford. We hope that this will become an annual event to showcase college basketball at the US Cellular Center.”- Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission Executive Director Demp Bradford

UNC Asheville

“We are looking forward to the event on Dec. 17 at the U.S. Cellular Center. Not only does it allow us to continue our mountain rivalry series with Western Carolina, but we get to do so in a great facility where basketball fans in the area will get to enjoy two good games. I'd like to thank the coaches and administrators at each institution, as well as the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission for all of their hard work in helping make this event happen.”- Men’s Basketball Coach Nick McDevitt

“UNC Asheville is excited to showcase our successful men's basketball program in he Mountain Invitational doubleheader hosted by the U.S. Cellular Center and the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission. We are looking forward to playing on Dec. 17 in front of our hometown crowd.”- Director of Athletics Janet Cone

High Point University

 “We are excited to be a part of the Mountain Invitational. This puts four good basketball programs on the floor in one day, which gives fans and alumni the opportunity to watch excellent players compete for their respective school. I would like to thank head coach Nick McDevitt for his hard work in putting this event together and to the city of Asheville for hosting such a tremendous event in the U.S. Cellular Center. We look forward to December 17 when we play Wofford with the opportunity to represent High Point University and our community.”- Men’s Basketball Coach Scott Cherry

 “The Mountain Invitational hosted by the U.S. Cellular Center is the perfect opportunity to challenge our HPU men’s basketball team as we prepare to battle for a fifth conference championships over the past six years. We want to thank the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission for the invitation to participate and I know that our HPU fans are excited for December 17."- Director of Athletics Dan Hauser

Western Carolina University

“We are pleased and excited to be a part of the inaugural Mountain Invitational Basketball Doubleheader. There are many great basketball fans in the Asheville area who are going to be treated to a tremendous afternoon of college basketball at the US Cellular Center in December as the basketball season kicks into high gear. The Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission has worked diligently for months with our coaches and administrators to make this event become a reality.” – Men’s basketball head coach Larry Hunter

“WCU Athletics is excited to be a part of the Mountain Invitational to be held December 17 and hosted by the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville. This event has been a long time coming, and to finally be able to showcase the best of college basketball in western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina at the beginning of the season bodes well for the four great institutions involved. I look forward to being able to offer our fans an opportunity to attend a great event in a great city.” –Director of Athletics Randy Eaton

Wofford College

We are looking forward to participating in the Mountain Invitational, in a city our players and coaches have grown fond of over the past several years.  December 17 will be a great day of college basketball for this region and I am certain we will have several Wofford fans in attendance. – Men’s basketball head coach Mike Young

“We are very much looking forward to playing in the Mountain Invitational. Our fans love making the short trip to Asheville and it’ll be great to compete in an arena where our team has seen some recent success. December 17th should be a fun night.”- Director of Athletics Richard Johnson

Demp Bradford Named Executive Director

The Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission Board of Directors is proud to announce Demp Bradford will join the Commission as Executive Director, effective July 1, 2016.  Bradford is a sports management industry veteran bringing over 15 years of experience to the organization.  Bradford is relocating to the Asheville area from Greensboro, NC where he served in a variety of roles at the Greensboro Sports Commission and Greensboro Coliseum in which he most recently served as the Director of Events for the Greensboro Tournament Host Committee.

Bradford has a Bachelors Degree from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Masters Degree in Education from East Carolina University.  In addition, Bradford is a Certified Sport Event Executive, a multi-year training program, from the National Association of Sports Commission offered for industry professionals.  “My experiences in Greensboro have been incredible but Asheville is such an amazing community, filled with such vibrancy.   I am very excited to take part and contribute to its increased success,” said Bradford.

The Board of Directors led a three-month process to find an Executive Director that will continue the growth of the Sports Commission’s impact on the community.  Stefan Magura, Chair of the Board of Directors shared that, “The board is thrilled to welcome Demp to the community.   His knowledge and experience is exactly what we were looking for in our new leader.”

Bradford will replace Ben VanCamp who served as the organization’s first Executive Director. VanCamp announced his resignation earlier this spring along with the decision to move closer to family in New England. 

Demp can be reached at

Roller Derby Doubleheader on June 4

On June 4, 2016, the Blue Ridge Roller Girls will hold a doubleheader at the U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Asheville.

The bouts will begin at 5:00 p.m. with the Blue Ridge French Broads vs. A2D2 Arbor Bruising Co., followed by the Blue Ridge All Stars skating against the  A2D2 Brawlstars at 7:00 p.m.
The teams will be honoring Asheville-based nonprofit Brother Wolf Animal Rescue as their chosen charity for this bout. A portion of the bout’s proceeds will go to support Brother Wolf. Brother Wolf Animal Rescue is a No Kill organization that was founded in order to provide the resources and life saving programs to build a No Kill community. Brother Wolf has been serving the Asheville area since 2007.

Tickets are $13, available for purchase at the U.S. Cellular Center box office. Children 10-years-old and younger will receive free admission.

For more information, visit or contact Princess Suck It Up Buttercup (Nicole Orlovitz) at 828-301-8449 or

ABOUT BLUE RIDGE ROLLERGIRLS: The Blue Ridge Rollergirls comprise Asheville, NC’s first all-female, flat track roller derby league. The league’s mission is to actively create, promote, and sustain an environment that fosters strength, courage, vitality, and the empowerment of women in the roller derby sport. The Blue Ridge Rollergirls have “rolled local” in Asheville since 2006 and have been full members of WFTDA since 2012.

ABOUT WFTDA:  The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is the international governing body for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby and a membership organization for leagues to collaborate and network. The WFTDA sets standards for rules, seasons, and safety, and determines guidelines for the international athletic competitions of member leagues. There are currently 369 WFTDA member leagues and 76 affiliated leagues in the WFTDA Apprentice program worldwide. The WFTDA is governed by a five-member, volunteer Board of Directors and managed by an Executive Director.