HAMPTON, VA - The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s (CIAA) 67th annual men’s and women’s basketball tournament raised the bar in 2012 by breaking previous economic impact and attendance records. The CIAA’s marquee event showcased its rich historical roots and strong heritage as the Conference celebrated its 100 year anniversary February 27 through March 4, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C.
“The CIAA cannot thank our alumni, students and fans enough for their unwavering support and role in making the 100th Anniversary Celebration a huge success,” stated Peggy Davis – Interim CIAA Commissioner. “The momentum generated from this year’s Tournament will be used to propel the CIAA into the future as we strive to continuously enhance the quality of our patron’s Tournament experience year-after-year.”
According to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA), the 2012 CIAA Tournament accounted for a total economic impact of $50.5 million* over the seven-day Tournament period; a 14 percent increase from 2011. Overall attendance for official CIAA and Uptown functions increased to over 197,000** as multiple event options attracted more attendees to the area. The Tournament is one-of-a-kind in its ability to lure loyal fans from across the country that continuously support the Conference, and appeal to those who just want to be “a part of the experience” – much like the Superbowl or NBA All-Star Weekend.
The CIAA Tournament ticket revenue reached $1.9 million; maintaining the momentum through its loyal fan base that view Tournament week as an absolute must-attend annual event.
“We are very pleased with the increase in this year’s CIAA tournament’s economic impact. This impact adds to the enormous overall impact of amateur sports in the Charlotte region. We are thrilled to welcome the CIAA alumni and visitors and look forward to creating memorable experiences for them again in the years ahead.” said Tom Murray, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
The week-long Tournament has made Charlotte its home for the past seven years 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. Charlotte is scheduled to host the Tournament through 2014.
“The CIAA and its Board of Directors are excited to report such a successful outcome to our annual Tournament,” says Dr. Mickey Burnim – Chairman of the CIAA Board of Directors. “The results not only speaks volumes to the power of the CIAA brand, but it also recognizes the hard work of all of those involved in the planning and execution of such a momentous event.”
Contributions to the CIAA General Scholarship Fund continue to remain strong. Scholarship dollars generated are split amongst the 12 member institutions providing educational opportunities for students to attend any CIAA school.
A special highlight from this year’s Tournament included an appearance by First Lady Michelle Obama along with Senator Kay Hagan and North Carolina school children for a Let’s Move! on-court event during the Food Lion Women’s semifinals on Friday, March 2 at the Time Warner Cable Arena. The First Lady promoted her Let’s Move! initiative, that is focused on solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. The initiative has brought together parents, businesses, educators, elected officials, members of the military, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders and kids to make substantial commitments to improve the health of our nation’s children.
Key event highlights include the Toyota Fan Experience, which attracted 32,399 CIAA patrons, setting a new record for the three-day event according to officials. The Toyota Fan Experience included the Yolanda Adams Morning Show sponsored by Lowe’s, a concert series featuring national recording artists Estelle, Avant, Omarion, Boyz II Men, Yolanda Adams, Jessica Reedy, Vivian Green, J. Moss, and J.J. Hairston, and Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound Choir, the Food Lion Cooking Stage featuring The Neelys, celebrity appearances by Ricky Smiley, Laz Alonzo, Lance Gross, the Belk Fashion Show featuring Cynthia Bailey, and many more interactive activities for people of all ages.
McDonald’s sponsored Super Saturday, which drew over 10,000 fans and produced an equally impressive event line-up. Highlights of the McDonald’s Super Saturday included a performance by the Hamilton Park, Food Lion’s Miss CIAA Pageant, the Cheerleading Exhibition, McDonald’s DJ Competition hosted by Rickey Smiley 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 website (www.ciaatournament.org), which serves as a central hub to connect CIAA alumni and Tournament attendees, drew 264,377 unique visitors in 2012; a 24 percent increase from 213,229 in 2011. The CIAA Tournament Facebook fan page increased its fan count to 47,308. The conference website (www.TheCIAA.com) recorded 137,429 unique visitors in the first three months of 2012, a 6.3% increase over the same period last year.
* Economic Impact was derived using the City of Charlotte’s Tourism Impact Model 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, CIAA 100th Anniversary Celebration featuring the O’Jays, CIAA Coaches’ Social, CIAA Step Shows, Greek Day Parties & Step Show After Party, the Women’s Health & Wellness Symposium, CIAA Women’s Luncheon, Sister 2 Sister presents Queen City Celebration Finale, etc., as well as an estimate of unofficial event attendance figures.