CIAA Renews Partnership with Charlotte

CIAA shares new tournament look, event details for 2015 Men’s & Women’s Basketball Tournament and new contract with the Queen City

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  (Sept. 3, 2014) – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) gathered at Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday, Sept. 3 to share event details on the upcoming 2015 Men’s & Women’s Basketball Tournament, set for Feb. 23 – 28, 2015. CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams, City of Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, Mecklenburg County Commission Chairman Trevor Fuller, Hornets President Fred Whitfield and Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) CEO Tom Murray were on hand to honor the commitment made last March following the 2014 tournament to bring new vision to the multi-day, citywide celebration.

The new six-year partnership between the City of Charlotte, Hornets Sports & Entertainment and the CIAA has been many months in the making. A strong focus on scholarship dollars has remained a top priority with the CIAA receiving $1.4 million to benefit the 12 conference colleges and universities. The scholarships will be funded via dollars committed by the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the CRVA in addition to actively pursuing external fundraising sources through corporate partners.

“Charlotte has been a tremendous partner over the years and we’re happy to have the opportunity to make further contributions to the city’s growth,” 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. The transition will enable the conference, the CRVA and other Charlotte entities to more effectively partner in the community, providing increased visibility for the CIAA and helping to secure enhanced sponsorships benefitting the 12 member-institutions. 

Plans also outline tournament play in 2017 and beyond at the GoodSports and Bojangles’ Coliseum complex that is currently under review by Charlotte City Council and looks to enhance the development into a multi-purpose sports destination for the region. Early rounds of the tournament would move from Time Warner Cable Arena to the facility, freeing up the arena for potential Hornets games. Later rounds would still be held at the arena. 

Adding to the excitement of the upcoming year, the CIAA revealed the 2015 tournament logo. In addition to the new events, McWilliams addressed the launch of the CIAA Fan Housing Program. Fans will be able to secure lodging in Center City Charlotte at lower rates than previous years directly from the CIAA. 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 was signed during the press announcement and is set to be shared with the CIAA and CRVA boards of directors. Once complete, the CRVA will share the contract upon request.

The 2015 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament will feature 22 action-packed 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. In 2015, the event will 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 become an integral event that the Charlotte community rallies around year after year. Most importantly, it has fostered an important legacy for the future through the funding it has provided in scholarships for the 12 member institutions, enabling students to attend CIAA schools. CIAA has consistently ranked as one of Charlotte’s largest events, only second behind the 2012 Democratic National Convention to date. A valuable economic engine for the community, the 2013 event generated $29.86 million in direct spending and $47.17 million in economic impact.