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Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 | 10:52 p.m.
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Posted: 10:30 p.m. Friday, March 1, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
CIAA crowds are pumping a lot of money into businesses Uptown on Friday, but the conference itself faces a $200,000 deficit. Eyewitness News took a look at the impact on both sides and the possibility that the tourney could leave the Queen City. Rocky River Sandwich Company vendor Perry Richardson has his cart stocked, ready to roll through a busy CIAA weekend nonstop. "If it's like last year, it'll be Sunday morning before we get through selling," Richardson said. He said this year, crowds started off slow, but he expects it to build and reach numbers matching last year. In 2012, restaurants like Kalu Asian Kitchen said they saw a jump in sales from 60 to 80 percent. The Queen City has gained momentum with the tournament with an estimated financial boost to the city of $50 million. Charlotte's contract to host the event is up next year and other cities like Raleigh will likely start bidding to win over the tourney this spring. "I am beyond open to doing what it takes to get to CIAA to stay and also to even try to land their headquarters here," said Charlotte City Councilman Patrick Cannon. Cannon helped to bring the CIAA to Charlotte and said he will work hard to keep it here.
Businesses big and small like Richardson's Rocky River Sandwich Company say it would hurt to see it go. "It would have a big economic impact. It really would," he said. Cannon also plans to reach out to Charlotte businesses to see if they would donate money for scholarships at CIAA schools or donate venues for tournament events.
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