Next month, the city of Charlotte will welcome the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament back for a 13th straight year, but we’re learning the tournament will not return to Charlotte after 2020.
In the past 13 years, the CIAA tourney has grown into a highly anticipated and hugely popular week of events, from the basketball tournament itself to comedy shows at Bojangles Coliseum and all the parties that come along with it.
Last year, the tournament brought in $50 million. In the past 10 years, the CIAA has generated more than $325 million.
“If they announce they are going elsewhere, I think that’s obviously going to be something that’s going to hurt the community,” city councilman Tariq Bokhari said Monday evening.
NBC Charlotte confirmed the tourney will not return to the Queen City after 2020 and move to Baltimore instead.
CIAA tweeted late Tuesday morning confirming the move:
Local businesses that look forward to the chance to woo locals and tourists each year said the news comes as a huge loss.
“It’s heartbreaking. We’re a small business surviving in a big city so it was always good to us,” 204 North Kitchen and Cocktails General Manager Zach Brokman explained.
And it’s not just the restaurants. Rideshare drivers said they often double, sometimes triple profit during CIAA week.
“We would get good weeks with CIAA in town, but it is kind of sad to see that we’re not getting that same financial growth,” Shyquian Carter said.
Online reviews are mixed. Some people are pleased, citing crime, noise, and traffic issues. Others are disappointed to see the city lose such a large-scale event.
“I’ve been involved with CIAA pretty much every year that they’ve been here in some spectrum of hospitality and it’s been, I’ve loved it every year. I hate to see it go honestly,” said Brokman.
This year, the CIAA tournament begins February 25.