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Ball in CIAA’s court for tournament host
League considers negotiating extension for Charlotte
Published Wednesday, June 26, 2013 11:03 am
by Herbert L. White

The CIAA doesn’t have a home for 2015, but Charlotte will get a long look.

CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter (left) says the league is debating whether to extend its basketball tournament deal with Charlotte.

CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter said league officials are weighing whether to extend Charlotte as host city or put the tournament up to the highest bidder next month.

“We’re continuing to refine the vision for the ideal tournament and how best to deliver the vision, so the conversation will continue moving forward,” she said. “We’re doing our homework right now to determine how best to move in this process, both with Charlotte and the long-term best interests for the conference.” Charlotte boosters, headed by regional visitors authority chief Tom Murray, have pushed for an exclusive negotiation period to extend the tournament’s contract after it expires in 2014. CIAA board of directors – comprised of the league’s 12 presidents and chancellors – haven’t made a commitment yet, but are considering its options.

“I think before we make any decisions on that we want to (do), make sure we understand what the priorities are,” she said … “whether we give them the extension or whether we go for the full bids. We’re hoping in a couple of weeks …how we’ll proceed.”

Murray insists the CIAA and Charlotte are a winning combination. The city’s urban core of Time Warner Cable Arena, nightlife and accommodations are unique in the league’s footprint. Potential rivals Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Greensboro either have arenas that are isolated from lodging and nightlife or are smaller than 19,000-seat Time Warner Cable Arena.

“We think this event has become what it is today in Charlotte because of Charlotte and the schools and the way this relationship’s worked,” Murray said. “That didn’t happen in other places. Its effect on the tournament is unique and we’d like to think it’s a good place to stay for that reason.”

The partnership has proven profitable for Charlotte. The CIAA pumped $47.17 million into the local economy in 2013, according to a CRVA report, including $29.86 million in direct spending. The study also revealed 96 percent of respondents would return to Charlotte.

Carpenter intimated the CIAA wants to fine-tune the tournament to make it more lucrative for the league and its membership, from control of lodging in Center City to possibly attaching its name to non-basketball events such as parties and other entertainment.

“We’ve got a lot fans that come to the tournament that don’t know the tournament exists,” Carpenter said. “They’re there for the atmosphere and parties and all of that, and that’s not bad, but we’d like to get that group of individuals to come inside the arena, so we’re thinking strategically what we can (do to) bring the party inside the venue so people are engaged not just at the game but at the venue and want to stay and enjoy.”

Eric Watson, a retired Delhaize America executive who is consulting Food Lion on its sponsorship of the CIAA, said the league should look to the bottom line.

“I think from a Delhaize perspective, being in our footprint is what’s going to be important,” he said. “If it’s in the footprint, that’s great. I think the thing that’s the biggest decision matrix is what will be the most beneficial to the conference financially, so clearly Charlotte has been a benefactor from the financial standpoint with the tournament being here.”

Affordability is important to league leaders, Carpenter said, noting that thousands of fans use CIAA week as a winter vacation. Keeping hotel and ticket prices reasonable is key.

“If you go to the Final Four or the NBA playoffs, it can be expensive,” she said. “People have to pick and choose where they spend their money. Do you want to spend it on a hotel and ticket to come in, or do you want to spend it on a party that’s not associated or affiliated with the tournament? We’re very mindful of that so we have to think about how do you create a culture that doesn’t out-price our community and you can still have a good time.”

Said Watson: “I think we all have to look at how the conference and the students benefit from it being here. Wherever it goes, it needs to be a place where the economics are going to benefit students and schools as well as the city it’s in. That’s really the nexus to the thing.”


I concur with most about the Ciaa should go to another city other than Charlotte. They brag about how much money they have made off of us and rob us blind on the hotels. No one city should be a monopoly.Pretty soon we will be declining while The Meac is picking off our unhappy Ciaa fans! Raleigh would be a welcome refresher!
Posted on March 3, 2014
Posted on March 2, 2014
Please take from Charlotte especially after the shooting last night...
Posted on March 2, 2014
Time Warner arena should not be a game changer. At least when the event was held in Raleigh, the arena was packed all nights. Greensboro does well hosting A&T's homecoming. How about Virginia Beach?
Posted on March 2, 2014
It doesn't matter I will be there
Posted on March 2, 2014
I Concur With EVERYONE The Charlotte Hotel Rates During CIAA Are Ridiculous. Has Anyone Noticed The Hotel Rates In Charlotte During NASCAR In May? The Rates Are MUCH Cheaper!!! I'm NOT Making This A Black/White Thing...IJS!!!
Posted on February 21, 2014
Posted on February 19, 2014
Charlotte has the space and night life which a lot of people enjoy. Most of the other cities can not handle the volume. All star weekend in Atlanta was horrible, traffic was awful. Lights went out in the malls and at our hotels. Be carefulwhen you are selecting a city and make sure it can hold a vast amount of people. I think Charlotte has the idea city for such a large amount of people. I will keep coming if it's kept in Charlotte. Although the hotels do need to come down on their prices, they are getting to greedy.
Posted on February 14, 2014
Charlotte has robbed us long enough! Have the hotels moguls pass some of our hard earned money to the participating HBCU and to the pioneers who keep getting robbed. This practice anywhere else would be a crime. We should leave a cool 30 million with a City who appreciates us ALUMNI!
Posted on January 30, 2014
It's time for the CIAA to move on! Support other cities where CIAA schools are located! The tournament normally moves around like in the past to support other areas. Continue to do so. In Charlotte its a joke. It's really about the parties and not the tournament! It has changed since being in Charlotte and not for the better! And like others have said, Charlotte makes all the money whereas the schools and the CIAA gets pocket change!
Posted on December 30, 2013
The CIAA Tournament should stay in Charlotte NC. The hotel prices are extremely high and fans should have the option to purchase single game tickets. The city of Charlotte is beautiful and its a neutral location for CIAA schools. I graduated from Winston Salem State University and I host different events during the tournament, I would love to sit down with the CIAA committee to go over some different marketing initiatives if thats possible. I have great insight from a consumer stand point and from a marketing stand point.
Posted on December 11, 2013
CIAA should stay in Charlotte because it is a great midway spot for the CIAA schools coming from the south and the north to participate in the tournament. Ticket prices for the games are outrageous, which is why many people don't come to the games. Also, what happened to being able to purchase single- game tickets? Some people may only be interested in seeing their school play and once they are out of the tournament, they may not want their tickets anymore. A better way to facilitate this process is needed. Finally, hotel prices for CIAA are RIDICULOUS, they sell out quickly, and they are already booked a year in advance. If there was a way to have price tiers and unlock the rooms in the same way, this may be a way to make sure the hotels don't fill up as quickly. The CIAA pumped MILLIONS of dollars into the city of Charlotte and surrounding areas. To take it away may do more harm than good.
Posted on December 7, 2013
Leave it in charlotte, why go anywhere else..regardless of any event that comes to the city the hotel prices will go up regardless if they chose another town...Stop being so cheap and enjoy the nightlife in my town
Posted on November 25, 2013
CIAA needs to be moved to another city..Charlotte had it chances so now give another city a chance.
Posted on October 28, 2013
The CIAA has become more about the City of Charlotte and entertainment venues than the 12 CIAA schools. Proof is in the number of people actually in the area watching the schools play. The area is pitifully empty for most games. Observe of your next visit. So, with that in mind our focus could be on how to include more CIAA school participants. (Students) who could be the future CIAA leadership and audience. The age of most CIAA ticket purchasers look to me to be about 60-85. Not to be confused with those not entering the arena, because they may be there for other reasons than watching basketball which is fine. Everyone should feel welcome regardless. How will the future CIAA basketball tournament sustain its image? Shouldn't the schools benefit royally? The city makes millions while the schools make thousands. Education use to be an important priority in our country, but never to the extent that millions are invested. Until that happens we should continue to have a voice for the future generation.
Posted on October 16, 2013
Hotels are too expensive. If a percentage of the hotels would go to the Colleges, that would be a great incentive to come to Charlotte
Posted on October 3, 2013
I have attended every year in Charlotte, sad to say I may not be returning due to hotel prices being outrageous. There needs to be better control over this. One night at a hotel is 175-250 a night, check the week before or week after and that same hotel is 89.00.
Posted on September 11, 2013
Leave CIAA in Charlotte. Charlotte has not taken CIAA for granted. It has been in Charlotte for the a while and grows each year. Charlotte is a good place to keep it. We look forward to it each year.
Posted on September 2, 2013
Keep it in Charlotte just lower the hotel prices Raliegh is just spreaded out too much and Winston-salem is too small.
Posted on July 26, 2013
Please move the CIAA from Charlotte. Charlotte has benefited enough from it and other cities need to have a chance. Charlotte has taken the CIAA for granted. Also Charlotte has become old and the CIAA needs to be rejuvenated in another city.
Posted on July 2, 2013

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