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The Voice of the Black Community
New vibe at CIAA
Branding, hoops tournament are league's focus
Published Tuesday, January 29, 2013 1:06 pm
by Herbert L. White

This isn’t your daddy’s CIAA.

CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter unveiled the league's new logo and events surrounding the conference basketball tournament Tuesday in Charlotte.

The 12-member collegiate athletics conference is moving forward in its second century with a new commissioner, branding and a 21st century approach to its signature event – the annual basketball tournament. Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter, the first black woman to lead a conference affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, has overseen the transition in five months on the job.

“Initially, it was a little difficult for me because I was a part of the old branding as a former student-athlete at a CIAA school, but this is fresh,” the graduate of Hampton (Va.) University said on Tuesday at a press conference in Charlotte. “It’s new, it’s exciting. We’ve got our membership on board, our presidents on board and I’m excited to talk about our brand and the new direction our conference is going in.”

The tournament is Feb. 26-March 2 at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Carpenter unveiled the new league logo at the Charlotte Convention Center. The double-circular seal incorporates the league’s acronym; five stars (for founding members Hampton, Howard, Lincoln, Shaw and Virginia Union universities) and two stalks of wheat representing growth and education. The update replaces a brand that had been used since 1985.

“We kept it basic and we kept it clean,” she said.

The league also launched a new tournament ticket program that transitions to a single plastic card for every game during the week as well as a $30 single-day ticket for Tuesday or Wednesday, typically the slowest attendance days. Tickets will be available online and at the league’s 12 member schools, with the transition to online only scheduled for 2014. The goal, Carpenter said, is to reduce ticket scalping while encouraging more attendance during the week.

“It’s important that we have control over our assets,” she said. “This tournament is the highlight that gives us the most exposure for our conference. We’re working on ensuring all our championships get that same exposure, but the reality of where we are now is that this tournament is the staple of who we are in our branding.”

The tournament drew more an estimated 197,000 people last year and accounted for $50.5 million in direct spending in Charlotte, according to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, has become a magnet for parties and ancillary events in Center City. CIAA week is a major event for the city’s hospitality industry – which employs 45,000 people – and has grown in stature over its eight-year run in Charlotte. The  league’s contract with the city expires after the 2014 tournament. Carpenter said the bid package will likely be presented in the spring.

“This is a great opportunity for the city of Charlotte and the region to host such a neat event,” said Mike Butts, CRVA’s executive director. “We look very much forward to this event every year and to be able to play host and we hope to be good partners and stewards in making sure this event continues to grow and develop and pay attention to the value of this for the student-athletes.”

Tournament week will include the Fan Experience at the Convention Center, which league officials say is the second largest in the country behind the NCAA Final Four, cheerleader demonstrations, career day for college students and college day for high school students. Plans are also being made for a community service day. Chaka Khan will headline the league-sponsored concert on March 2 at the Convention Center. Tickets are $40 and will be available online.

“Everybody gets a piece in our CIAA family,” Carpenter said.

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Wow, Black folks! Wow!
Posted on January 31, 2013

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