CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s (CIAA) 68th Annual Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament generated a substantial economic impact for the region with $47.17 million in economic impact and $29.86 million in direct spending. The study was conducted by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) and accounts for spending that occurred during the 2013 event, held February 25 – March 2 in Charlotte, N.C.
This year marked the eighth year that the Tournament has been hosted in Charlotte. Teams, sponsors and fans made use of Time Warner Cable Arena, the Charlotte Convention Center, thousands of city and regional hotel rooms as well as restaurants and special event and nightlife venues. Charlotte also hosted a variety of fan-friendly events, including live media broadcasts like “The Yolanda Adams Morning Show,” programming at the Toyota Fan Experience, exhibitions, performances and more.
The CIAA tournament returns to the Queen City February 24 – March 1, 2014, the last year of its current contract with Charlotte. CRVA, the Charlotte Bobcats and other key stakeholders are working with CIAA Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter as the conference formulates its plans for future years. Commissioner Carpenter joined the conference in 2012, strengthening the event through her years of NCAA experience and emphasis on the student-athlete and fan experience.
“The CIAA Board of Directors recently met with representatives of Charlotte as part of its regularly scheduled meeting. The dialogue was constructive and given our long-standing, ongoing relationship the CIAA has with the city, we expect those conversations to continue in the coming months,” says Commissioner Carpenter. She added, “Charlotte’s compact footprint and accessible Center City area make it desirable to serve as our host. The Tournament allows us to provide more students with an opportunity to get a college education – and that is our primary focus.”
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 fosters a legacy for the future through the $1 million it provides in scholarships divided among the 12 member institutions. CIAA has consistently ranked as one of Charlotte’s largest events, only second behind the 2012 Democratic National Convention to date.
“Charlotte holds the CIAA Tournament in high regard and values the dividends it yields for the region beyond just its effects on the economy,” says CRVA CEO Tom Murray. “As one of the largest events the city welcomes year to year, it also produces unprecedented educational opportunities for future CIAA students and serves as a shining example of how our city collaborates to create successful, memorable events that encourage repeat business. We look forward to spending time with Commissioner Carpenter and her team to identify even more ways we can enhance the CIAA experience and hope to have to the opportunity to host in future years.”
The economic impact study was the result of refined research procedures and new processes and efficiencies that have been implemented throughout the CRVA over the past year. CRVA relies on conservative and accurate methodology for calculating economic impact based on widely used best practices from leading economists and the hospitality and tourism industry. The methodology and data that helped calculate the 2013 CIAA study has also been verified by Tourism Economics, the Oxford Economics research firm that conducted the economic impact study for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
The study took into account CIAA visitor spending in Mecklenburg County, consisting of lodging, retail, food and beverage, transportation and other amenities. To calculate the indirect and induced spending that affects industries within Mecklenburg County, the study used the industry standard known as IMPLAN, which is based on government and proprietary databases that include regionally specific data, not broad or national averages. This customizes the economic impact analysis to a defined region of study. The total economic impact number represents the sum of the direct, indirect and induced number.
In 2012, economic impact estimates totaled $50.5 million for the Tournament, which also marked the conference’s 100-year anniversary. Indicators that point to the decline in economic impact in 2013 can be attributed to a lower proportion of out-of-town and overnight visitors, those from outside of Mecklenburg County. Of those out-of-town visitors, fewer stayed in hotels. In addition, day visitors traditionally spend less than overnight visitors since they do not need accommodations. CRVA and CIAA also are partnering next year to more closely examine the breakdown of student, athlete and fan tickets to better extrapolate visitor spending statistics that impact the overall economic impact total.
The survey results reflect economic impact solely generated within Mecklenburg County due to the majority percentage of out-of-town respondents (95 percent) who indicated they stayed in this area. CIAA and CRVA recognize that spending did take place in surrounding counties, but this number is not reflected in the overall calculation. Uptown hotel demand increased by 4.3 percent, while demand for hotels beyond Uptown decreased by 1.4 percent. More than 96 percent of respondents polled said they would return for another CIAA Tournament, demonstrating the event’s widespread appeal.