CIAA Tournament Soars to New Heights | Charlotte NC Travel & Tourism
The official travel resource

CIAA Tournament Soars to New Heights


Sets Stage for 100th Anniversary

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s (CIAA) 66th annual men’s and women’s basketball tournament soared to new heights in 2011 by breaking previous economic impact and attendance records.

According to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), the 2011 CIAA Tournament accounted for a total economic impact of $44.3 million* over the six-day Tournament period; a 19 percent increase from 2010. Overall attendance for official CIAA and Uptown functions increased to over 190,000** as the multitude of event options continued to bring fans to the area. The Tournament is unique in its ability to draw loyal fans from across the country who continue to support the Conference, as well as, those who just want to be “part of the scene” – much like the Superbowl or NBA All-Star Weekend.

The CIAA increased its ticket revenue to $2 million, a five percent increase from 2010, maintaining the momentum through its loyal fan base that view the Tournament week as an absolute must-attend annual event.

“Year-after-year we have seen the validation of Charlotte as a destination for the CIAA men’s and women’s basketball tournament and the reunion of its alumni, friends and family. Charlotte has embraced the CIAA, its history and its importance in the lives of those who attend,” said Tim Newman, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. “We are so fortunate to have grown this not only into a $44 million record year in 2011 in terms of economic impact to the Charlotte region, but one that we can truly say has initiated lifelong friendships and memories.”

The week-long Tournament made Charlotte its home in 2006 and together the CIAA and the city of Charlotte have produced a series of successful tournaments for the member schools, its fans and sponsors, and the local community. The CIAA’s marquee event showcased its rich tradition and prestige as the Conference celebrated 99 years of existence in 2011 as a prelude to the CIAA’s 100th anniversary celebration - February 27 through March 3, 2012 in Charlotte.

“This is a great time for the CIAA. Not only have we reached the goals we set for this year’s Tournament, but we’ve continued to raise the bar to provide our alumni and fans with a new and exciting experience each and every year, none of which is possible without the help of our corporate sponsors and our partners in Charlotte,” says Leon Kerry, CIAA Commissioner. “The CIAA is excited with the momentum we have generated leading into the CIAA’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2012. We have the support of our loyal fans, member institutions and sponsors. As a team, we’re constantly enhancing the Tournament and affiliated activities to ensure the ‘CIAA Experience’ is as strong as ever.”

The CIAA generated $1.55 million in scholarship dollars, which will be split amongst the 13 member institutions providing educational opportunities for students to attend any CIAA school.

The CIAA welcomed back Winston Salem State University and Lincoln University (PA) during the 2011 Tournament. The Tournament also proved successful from a corporate standpoint, as sponsor support and activation programs remained active with the addition of Toyota as the CIAA’s new automotive partner.

The Toyota Fan Experience remained a popular attraction with CIAA patrons drawing 33,000 fans, a new record for the three-day event. Highlights of the Toyota Fan Experience included the Yolanda Adams Morning Shows brought to you by Lowe’s, a concert series featuring national recording artists Eric Benet, Donell Jones, Tank and Jagged Edge, the Food Lion Cooking Stage featuring B. Smith, celebrity appearances by Tom Joyner, Idris Elba, Lance Gross, J. Anthony Brown, Jamie Foster Brown, the Belk Fashion Show, and many more interactive activities for people of all ages.

McDonald’s sponsored Super Saturday produced record attendance figures drawing over 15,000 fans. Highlights of the McDonald’s Super Saturday included a performance by the New Boyz, the Darrin Henson Show, Food Lion Miss CIAA Pageant, the Cheerleading Exhibition, McDonald’s DJ Burger Battle and many more activities geared towards the family. Both the Toyota Fan Experience and McDonald’s Super Saturday were free to the public.

The official CIAA Tournament Web site (, which serves as a central hub to connect CIAA alumni and Tournament attendees, drew 213,229 unique visitors in 2011; a 32 percent increase from 161,072 in 2010. The CIAA Tournament Facebook fan page increased its fans count to 30,180.

* Economic Impact was derived using the City of Charlotte’s Tourism Impact Model (created by Elliott D. Pollack & Co.) and is a function of the number of visitors and their spending habits over the course of Tournament week.

** Attendance figures include all official CIAA and Uptown functions such as – men’s and women’s basketball games, Toyota Fan Experience, McDonald’s Super Saturday, Education Day, Career Expo, Post Tournament Party, CIAA Step Show & Step Show After Party, the Women’s Health & Wellness Symposium, CIAA Women’s Luncheon, Sister 2 Sister presents The Show, and XXL Magazine present The SLAM Lounge.

For more information about the CIAA conference or the 2012 Tournament – 100th anniversary celebration in Charlotte, please visit or


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 13 colleges and universities situated along the Eastern Seaboard. For more information about the CIAA Basketball Tournament, visit For more information about the CIAA, visit