CIAA Tournament Could Leave Charlotte


by Audrina Bigos

 CHARLOTTE, NC - One of Charlotte's biggest money makers is in town, but it could be heading somewhere else. The city's contract to host the CIAA Tournament ends this year.

More than 200,000 people are expected in Uptown Charlotte this weekend--and that means dollar signs for local businesses--but Charlotte's going to have to dish out more than it's giving now.
Last year, the tournament brought more than $47 million in economic impact, and the City of Charlotte dished out $1 million dollars for tournament expenses and athletic scholarships.
CIAA alumni, like Jodi Turner, say that's not enough.
"The CIAA brings a lot of money into this community, but it's not taking a lot with them," said Jodi Turner, a North Charlotte resident.
Seven other cities have shown interest in hosting the tournament, including Atlanta, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh, Washington, D.C., Hampton, VA, and Philedelphia.
"The alternatives just aren't enough to match it, so I think we have a strong suit," said John Hicks, a West Charlotte resident. 
But Bobby Henderson, who's been attending CIAA tournaments for over 40 years, says Charlotte has to dig deeper into its pockets.
"If the city wants to win the bid for next, the bottom line is they're going to have to ante up more money," said Henderson.
"I would like to see the amount of scholarship increase and if that happens, maybe they will stay," said Turner.
Tournament officials have not set a timeline for when they will open the bid process.
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