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Tourism leaders make pitch to keep CIAA
CRVA lobbies for exclusive tournament negotiation
 
Published Wednesday, June 12, 2013 1:14 pm
by Herbert L. White

Charlotte wants to deal directly with the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association to keep the marquee basketball tournament here.

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PHOTO/CURTIS WILSON
The CIAA basketball tournament pumped $47.17 million into Charlotte’s economy in 2013, according to a study by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. CRVA officials are lobbying the CIAA to enter an exclusive negotiation to keep the tournament in Charlotte. The league’s contract with Charlotte expires after the 2014 tournament.


Tom Murray, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, has asked the CIAA board of directors to give Charlotte an exclusive period to negotiate terms of keeping the tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena. The city’s contract with the CIAA expires at the end of the 2014 tournament. Potential rivals for the tournament include Raleigh, which last hosted the CIAA in 2005, and Greensboro.


“We think the CRVA and CIAA executive management team have a good start, a good relationship and good understanding of each other and where we want to go,” Murray said.


Charlotte has hosted the CIAA since 2008, the longest run for a host city in league history and one of the city’s most lucrative annual events. A CRVA report revealed the tournament pumped $47.17 million into the local economy in 2013, including $29.86 million in direct spending. In 2012, the tournament accounted for $50.5 million in economic impact with 197,000 participants.  A CRVA survey found that 96 percent of respondents would return to Charlotte for the tournament.


“The CIAA Board of Directors recently met with representatives of Charlotte as part of its regularly scheduled meeting,” league Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter said in a statement. “The dialogue was constructive and given our long-standing, ongoing relationship the CIAA has with the city, we expect those conversations to continue in the coming months.”


The league hasn’t requested bid proposals yet, but Charlotte officials are pushing to negotiate directly with the CIAA, which is looking to assume more control over amenities like hotel pricing in Center City and fan-specific experiences. Hotel demand in Charlotte’s urban core rose by 4.3 percent in 2013 while bookings away from Center City dropped by 5.5 percent.


Carpenter is also insisting on increasing scholarship funding to the league’s 12 schools. Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and local businesses chipped in a combined $1 million last year.


“What we’ve said is let us do (a request for proposals) without being in a competitive environment,” Murray said. “Why don’t you tell us what you want and we’ll see if we can deliver on those things because we want to make sure that we’re not telling them what we think they want. We’re listening to them like you would with any good customer.”


Charlotte backers are pushing the city’s “village” approach as a key selling point for keeping the tournament here. With lodging, restaurants, entertainment venues and the arena all located in Center City, CIAA week is more accessible in Charlotte, Murray said.
Carpenter agrees.


“Charlotte’s compact footprint and accessible Center City area make it desirable to serve as our host,” she said. “The tournament allows us to provide more students with an opportunity to get a college education – and that is our primary focus.”

Comments

Where else but Charlotte, can you put the tournament? Nothing wrong with Winston-Salem and Raleigh, but there's a whole lot more to do here in the Queen City (especially when you're trying to get something to eat in the late hours and stuff closed early in the capital city). We've had the tourney since 06, and not ready to let it go. Might I add one last thing, the majority of CIAA alumni is represented here in strong numbers. Why go anywhere else? To reiterate Spike, let's do the right thing CIAA and Charlotte!

Julian Fennell
Livingstone College Class of 2004
Posted on June 15, 2013
 

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