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CIAA Tournament Will Play Final Games In Charlotte In 2020

The men’s team at Virginia State and the women’s team at Virginia Union won the championship at the 2019 CIAA Tournament which was held in Charlotte Feb. 26 – March 2.

The men’s team at Virginia State played Shaw University. The score for the men’s team was 77-66. The women’s team at Virginia Union played Fayetteville State. The score for the women’s team was 75-41.

According to news reports, the nation’s oldest African-American sports conference will not return to Charlotte after 2020. It will be held in Baltimore for three years, starting 2021.

At a recent news conference at Baltimore’s Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Al Hutchinson, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore said, “This could be Baltimore’s Super Bowl.”

Hutchinson, who spearheaded the CIAA bid, said, “The CIAA basketball tournament is more than a basketball championship; it’s a social event, a family reunion. There is a huge alumni base that lives in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia region and north in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and Boston, and that fan base wants to come down to this tournament.”

The Baltimore Sun, citing a source familiar with the event, said in a recent story that Baltimore beat out Norfolk and Charlotte to host the event. According to the Sun story, “Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford’s public schedule listed the ‘Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) bid announcement.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who was a cheerleader at Morgan State when it was a CIAA member, said she attended the tournament. It “goes beyond what happens on the court,” she said. “The CIAA is a passion, a tradition. Baltimore is all-in.”

In Charlotte, the tournament had a total economic impact of $50.5 million in 2018, according to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. But hotel demand and ticket sales for the annual tournament have declined. For the first time last year, event organizers blocked off sections of over 7,000 seats at the Spectrum Center for the tournament’s championship games.

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In North Carolina, the CIAA tournament week was the city’s largest annual tourism event, with a reported annual economic impact exceeding $50 million.

Nine of the CIAA’s 13 member schools are in North Carolina. Other member schools are in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

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