CIAA tournament lands in Charlotte for 100th anniversary
Posted on 2 Mar 2012 by Travis Durkee
2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the CIAA Basketball Tournament and the sixth year that it will call Charlotte “home”.
Starting on Feb. 28 and running through Mar. 4, 12 men’s and women’s basketball teams from historically black universities from across the country will ascend upon Time Warner Cable Arena and uptown Charlotte for a week-long event full of basketball, parties and other festivities.
This week means more to Charlotte than just a basketball tournament, it mean dollar signs. According to the CIAA Tournament website, the tournament brought $44.3 million dollars into the Charlotte economy in 2011 and attracted over 190,000 fans. This number is likely to be surpassed considering that the 2006 tournament, the first year it was held in Charlotte, brought in $15.4 million and 124,000 fans.
This influx of people has arguably its greatest effect on the restaurant business in uptown Charlotte.
“We look forward to the arrival of the CIAA tournament every year,” said Mark Honeycutt, general manager of Brixx Wood Fired Pizza at 7th Street Station. “It gives us the opportunity to do strong business while serving as ambassadors of Charlotte.”
This week not only brings in money from food sales but it also allows restaurants and clubs to hold special events for those visiting the Queen City.
“The CIAA obviously brings a lot of potential customers not only to our business but all of Charlotte,” said Lauren Pettigrew, promotional manager for Dixie’s Tavern. “Our managers work with promoters to book events for each day and night the CIAA is in town. These promoters rent out our entire venue and charge a cover charge, which is something we don’t normally do”
As much money as this tournament injects into the local economy, it’s equally important to the city to be a good host for the thousands of fans visiting the area.
“Our company was founded here and our owners and staff live here. We have a great deal of pride in our city and in our food,” said Honeycutt. “We love to share that with the guests we serve from the CIAA.”
The CIAA tournament is in full swing this weekend with semi-final and championship match-ups as well as an event for everyone. Be sure to check out the tournament website along with your favorite spots uptown for event details.