CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association confirmed at a news conference Tuesday that the tournament will not be hosted in Charlotte after the contract between the conference and the city expires in 2020.
The tournament will be held in Baltimore from 2021 to 2023.
“What stood out about Baltimore was their vision of how the CIAA Basketball Tournament could be woven into the fabric of the city. Also important was Baltimore’s commitment to provide scholarships for the CIAA institutions and overall support of the hotel and business communities,” said CIAA Board Chair and Fayetteville State University President Dr. James A. Anderson.
Charlotte City Council members said the move is a tough loss.
City Councilman Smuggie Mitchell said the city dropped the ball when it didn't offer the CIAA more than two nights in the Spectrum Center.
“We submitted a bad bid,” Mitchell said. “I hope the citizens are not mad at the CIAA. They did make a good business decision to go to Baltimore.”
Mitchell said the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority and its CEO, Tom Murray, put the bid together.
“We think we did a very competitive bid,” Mitchell said.
Murray said Mitchell was also part of the team of city leaders that put together the CIAA bid.
Murray said he’s disappointed too but not surprised because of the results from a CRVA survey of CIAA visitors.
“When we asked them the question, ‘What would make the tournament more successful?' One of the top answers was. ‘other cities,’" Mitchell said.
“It's going to be a loss, no question,” Councilman Justin Harlow, D-District 2, said. “(It’s the) largest economic impact we've had. Now we have to do our job and look to replace it.
Channel 9 reported last year that other cities had shown interest in hosting the tournament. The CIAA tournament has called Charlotte home for 13 straight years and has been a week-long party focused in the city's center.
The tournament has also been the center of some controversy. Two years in a row there were shootings during CIAA week involving rappers in town for the events, which made officials question if Charlotte was the right place for their party.
“We are incredibly thankful for our partnership between the CIAA, the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA). Charlotte is still our home, we are still headquartered here. We have built life-long friendships with our partners and the community that goes beyond the tournament. We plan to continue this great relationship,” said CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams.
Officials said the 2018 tournament had an impact of more than $50 million on Charlotte’s economy.
Councilman Tariq Bokhari, R-District 6, said the city will need to take a deep look at the data to figure out what went wrong.
He said the CIAA paved the way for major events like the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention.
“We owe a lot for what it has done in the past,” Bokhari said.
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