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CIAA puts future basketball tournament host duty up for bid
League's deal with Charlotte ends in 2020
Published Monday, July 9, 2018 3:32 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

The CIAA is open to moving its basketball tournament out of the backyard.

The Charlotte-based league’s board of directors voted to put hosting rights to its showcase up for bid 2021-23. The tournament sub-committee made bid specifications available this week to prospective hosts, with the winner to be announced in December. The league’s contract with Charlotte, which has hosted the tournament since 2006, expires in 2020.

“The selection of the future CIAA men’s and women's basketball tournament site is in alignment with site selections for all CIAA championships,” league Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said. “The conference’s board sees this as a great opportunity to open the tournament experience to other markets and to forge new alliances.

The 2018 tournament – one of the largest college sports events in the country – drew over 140,000 people to Charlotte, with an economic impact of $50.5 million, according to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. Since 2000, the CIAA has generated more than $650 million in economic impact in Winston-Salem, Raleigh and Charlotte.

“Charlotte has been a great home for us and we look forward to continuing our partnership,” McWilliams said. “Our future includes writing a new chapter in our tournament's history, with a goal of creating exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our student-athletes, coaches, alumni, sponsors, and fans.”

The league is laying out its requirements for bidders, which must be submitted by Sept. 9:

• Venues with a minimum capacity of 8,000-10,000 seats;

• Provide at least 6,000 full-service hotel rooms near the tournament site;

• Hotel rates, and

• Draft budget

The committee will review each bidding market’s basketball venue, lodging and transportation, as well as demonstrate the ability to create an advertising-free zone to protect tournament sponsors from ambush marketing. Each bidding region will need to show a commitment to the tournament, including funding a scholarship payout to the league’s member schools, will weigh heavily in the decision.

Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell has lobbied for the city to boost the scholarship payout in order to hang on to the CIAA. He has proposed the city help the league locate corporate support in order to get the league’s take to a minimum of $6 million annually, or $500,000 per school. The league reaped $1.6 million total in 2018 – a record for any host market.

“I want to make sure the CIAA basketball tournament stays in Charlotte because of the economic impact it has on our community,” Mitchell said on Sports Charlotte, The Post's podcast. …“We need to be doing better. I’d rather for each school to have between $500,000 and $750,000 to make sure another child gets an opportunity to attend college.”

The CIAA’s relationship with Charlotte has been beneficial for both, league chair and Fayetteville State University Chancellor James Anderson said. Moving to bid the tournament will give everyone a chance to show their commitment to forging new relationships, or strengthen new ones.

“The board believes it makes good business sense to re-evaluate the location and amenities for the future of the tournament,” he said. “Being mindful of the footprint of the CIAA institutions in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and now South Carolina, it's important to review all possible/potential locations to identify what's best for our student-athletes, alumni, and fans.”


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