Since 2012, Top Gun Sports has held more than two dozen softball and baseball tournaments each year in the Fayetteville area for children ages 8 to 18. And Mike Anderson, travel director for Top Gun, says that his organization has every intention of coming to Fayetteville for a long time. Why? The quality of the fields, hotels, restaurants, and attractions in the area, coupled with the strong support he gets from the operations and services people there.

As he plans out the next year’s tournament schedule in the weeks before Christmas, his first point of contact is the Cumberland County Department of Parks and Recreation. “We have good conversations to find dates that work best for all of us,” he says. “They are always straight with me—they know their product and what they can provide, and they do not overpromise. Also, they have great facilities and the field-operations staff is very hands-on when we are there, which is a central reason why we keep coming back to Fayetteville.”

Another reason is the assistance that the Fayetteville Area CVB provides not just to Anderson but also to the families of his tournament participants. “Once we have our dates, the CVB helps us get hotels across a range of price points—and with some of our tournaments drawing up to 1,500 players plus their families, we need all those options.”

In fact, many teams travel not just with parents of players but also with older and younger siblings, and sometimes grandparents too. As a result, “the CVB provides lots of information to help us educate our people about the restaurants and attractions in the area; they know the numbers of people we are dealing with and give the best options.”

Anderson’s take on Fayetteville: “It has a great walkable downtown with shops, restaurants, and a few museums, plus the new minor league ballpark is right there and it’s outstanding. If you can believe it, the new ballpark has generated so much excitement among our teams and their families—even though they have been at the ballfields most of the day, they want to go in the evening and sit and enjoy the game and the park.”

Even so, the facilities and attractions are not the only elements that makes Top Gun Sports keep coming back to the area. “The bottom line is that we are lucky to have great partners to work within Fayetteville.”