Economic Impact, Tournament Attendance and Official Events Experience Record-Breaking Growth
The 2008 CIAA Tournament, held in Uptown February 25 – March 1, marked another conference and City of Charlotte success. CIAA fans flocked to the Queen City for the six-day Tournament in vast numbers and made the city home while they filled arena stands, uptown restaurants, the Fan Experience and hotels throughout the week. This year’s Tournament offered several new official events as well as an abundance of individually promoted activities that continue to elevate the CIAA as one of America’s great sporting and entertainment events in terms of fan experience(s), social networking and economic success.
According to Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority research, the 2008 CIAA Tournament accounted for direct spending of over $20.5 million and a total economic impact of $30.7 million over the one-week period, up nearly 14 percent from 2007 Tournament figures. In addition to sold-out attendance at traditional CIAA functions, city organizers, hoteliers and local food and beverage businesses recognized the benefits of the CIAA and its loyal fans. Many party promoters and restaurants reported double-digit growth during this year’s Tournament week and they are already planning for bigger things in 2009.
“The CIAA fans are the best in the world,” stated CIAA Commissioner, Leon Kerry. “They support the CIAA Tournament and all the activities associated with this incredible event. We work hard year-round with the City of Charlotte to produce a first-class event. It’s very satisfying to see what this week means to Charlotte, CIAA fans, our member institutions and the Historically Black College world. I’m thrilled about our continued partnership with the City of Charlotte, the success that the CIAA Tournament produces, and to see the number of entities that are positively influenced by the Tournament’s success.”
Ticket sales, sponsor revenues and media and rights fees for all CIAA-sponsored events, combined with the host city financial commitments, offset the CIAA operating costs and ultimately provide contributions to the CIAA scholarship fund and its 10 institutions. The conference is expected to contribute nearly $2.0 million to the CIAA scholarship fund.
Overall attendance for the 2008 CIAA Tournament and its official events topped 181,000 – up over 10 percent from 2007. Attendance figures include all official CIAA functions – men’s and women’s basketball games, Ford Fan Experience, McDonald’s Super Saturday, High School Day, Career Expo, Ebony Fashion Show, NASA Awareness, JMI Telecom/CIAA Golf Tournament, Old School After Party, Post Tournament After Party, McDonald’s Step Show & Step Show After Party, Black Magic Film Premier, Gold Peak CIAA Women’s Luncheon and CIAA Gospel Explosion.
The CIAA Ford Fan Experience was wildly popular with CIAA patrons attracting over 35,000 fans over the three-day period. Attendance was up 30 percent from 2007, with Saturday alone drawing over 22,000 fans. Highlights of the Fan Experience included the Steve Harvey Morning Show, a concert series featuring national recording artists Bow Wow, Lyfe Jennings, Tiffany Evans, Rick Ross, Fabolous and Chingy from both Def Jam and Sony Records, Bank of America’s Biz Street, Food Lion’s Cooking Stage, Ford’s car display, the Marine Chin-Up Challenge and many more interactive activities for people of all ages.
One new addition to this year’s Tournament that helped spur spending in Uptown Charlotte was the opening of the LYNX Blue Line. During the week of the CIAA Tournament, there were over 80,000 riders with Friday and Saturday ridership of over 52,000 people. “Those two days were our single busiest revenue days yet,” says Olaf Kinard, marketing divisional manager, Charlotte Area Transit Authority.
Economic impact numbers were compiled by the market research department of the Charlotte Regional Visitor’s Authority (CRVA) and are a function of the number of visitors and their spending habits over the course of Tournament week.
For more information about the CIAA conference or the 2009 Tournament to be held February 23 – 28 in Charlotte, please visit www.ciaatournament.org.
The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) was founded in 1912 and is based in Hampton, Virginia. The CIAA is America’s oldest historically black college and university conference and is made up of 10 HBCUs situated along the Eastern Seaboard. For more information about the CIAA Basketball Tournament, visit www.ciaatournament.org.