As a followup to a commitment made last March following its 2014 basketball tournament, the CIAA has announced a new six-year partnership with the City of Charlotte and Hornets Sports & Entertainment resulting in $1.4 million annually for scholarships to benefit the 12 conference colleges and universities. Details were revealed during a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Time Warner Cable Arena. The scholarships will be funded via dollars committed by the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) in addition to actively pursuing external fundraising sources through corporate partners.
“Charlotte has been a tremendous partner over the years,” said Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams.
The CIAA also plans to relocate their conference headquarters to Charlotte in the coming years. The contract specifies $100,000 in relocation support.
Beginning in 2017 and beyond, early rounds of the CIAA basketball tournament will be played at the GoodSports and Bojangles' Coliseum complex. This will free up Time Warner Cable Arena for potential Hornets games with later rounds still being held at the arena.
During the press conference, McWilliams announced the launch of the CIAA Fan Housing Program. Fans will be able to secure lodging directly from the CIAA in Center City Charlotte at lower rates than previous years. Ticket sales and hotel rooms associated with the event will be available via theciaa.com beginning Sept. 8.
“We want to thank our hotel partners for coming to an agreement we believe will meet the needs of our most loyal fans and those just being introduced to the CIAA,” said McWilliams.
The three-party contract for future years between the CIAA, CRVA and Hornets Sports & Entertainment is set to be shared with the CIAA and CRVA boards of directors. Once complete, the CRVA will share the contract upon request.
This year's CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament, set for Feb. 23-28, 2015, will feature 22 basketball games, and free activities for the community, alumni and all fans of the event – from Career and Education Days to the fan festival event, Fan Experience, and more. The 2015 event will also see a variety of improvements, including more in-arena entertainment and VIP packages.
Touted as the third most attended basketball tournament among all NCAA divisions, the CIAA Tournament has consistently ranked as one of Charlotte’s largest events, only second behind the 2012 Democratic National Convention to date. The 2013 event generated $29.86 million in direct spending and $47.17 million in economic impact.