Charlotte's "Basketball Trifecta" Contributed $167 Million to Regional Economy

Published: 
July 16, 2019

NBA All-Star Weekend, CIAA Men’s and Women’s Tournament and New York Life ACC Tournament benefited the community in myriad ways and garnered valuable national and international exposure for the Queen City

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 16, 2019) –Between February 15 and March 16 this year, Charlotte hosted a “basketball trifecta” of events – the NBA All-Star Weekend, CIAA Men’s and Women’s Tournament and the 2019 New York Life ACC Tournament – which contributed a combined $167 million in economic impact to the region, including $93.5 million in direct visitor spending.

“The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the major drivers of economic benefits to the region, and these figures underscore the value of the visitor economy” said Tom Murray, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. “Charlotte was awarded an incredible opportunity to host these strategic events nearly back-to-back-to-back, and we rose to the occasion and delivered exceptional experiences not only for our customers, but for our community as well.”

The NBA All-Star Weekend was held over three days, Feb. 15 -17, with more than 150 related events taking place at venues across the city, including Spectrum Center, historic Bojangles’ Coliseum and the Charlotte Convention Center. From Feb. 25 through March 2, the CIAA Tournament, comprised of teams from the athletic conference’s 13-member institutions, featured 24 games with early matchups at Bojangles’ Coliseum and the final three days of action at Spectrum Center. The New York Life ACC Tournament, March 12-16, delivered 14 nationally-televised games from Spectrum Center, showcasing some of the best NCAA Division I men’s teams in the country.

“Success at this level is only possible through strong partnerships and dedicated leadership,” added Murray. “The spirit of collaboration between the city, county, venues and all our tourism partners in the region was critical in our ability to pull off three major citywide events in such a compressed timeframe. I’m both pleased and proud of what we were able to accomplish for our community by working so closely together.”

Impact of NBA All-Star Weekend

The 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend is the largest single sporting event the city of Charlotte has ever hosted, with an $87.7 million economic impact to match. The influx of players, fans and media created ripple effects across a broad spectrum of the regional economy, generating $48.7 million in direct spending on lodging, food and beverages, transportation, retail, recreation and goods and services providers. Additional outcomes and insights include:

  • Of the total $48.7 million in direct spending, $26.8 million is attributed to visitor purchases and $21.9 million is attributed to organizational purchases by the NBA, local organizing committee and media outlets.
  • Expenditures on lodging, food and beverages accounted for more than half of total visitor spending, and generated an estimated $4.67 million in state and local sales tax revenue.
  • Hotel occupancy in Uptown Charlotte over the four nights neared 100%, with more rooms sold in Uptown than during any other event in Charlotte history.
  • Uptown hotels saw average daily room rates (ADR) nearly double over previous year figures, hitting record highs at an average of more than $320. Hotel prices in the 10-county MSA increased by about 80% during the weekend.
  • In addition to the nearly $90 million in economic impact, the event garnered tens of millions of dollars in media value across broadcast, print and digital media globally, including coverage from the more 1,500 media outlets that attended All-Star weekend as well as the months of coverage leading up to the event. 
  • The game was aired in 215 countries and in 49 languages. The weekend’s activities reached markets in which the city has no traditional marketing presence, such as China, the league’s largest international market.
  • Beyond the broadcast, approximately 350 international media members from 44 countries covered and attended the game.
  • The NBA worked alongside local community organizations to support thousands of children, families, and people in need across Charlotte with grassroots programs and events, leaving a legacy beyond the game. 

Impact of CIAA Basketball Tournament

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is the nation’s oldest African American athletic conference, and is headquartered in Charlotte. The men’s and women’s tournament week offered a dynamic pairing of basketball with intellectual, cultural, social and recreational opportunities, leading to a total economic impact of $43.7 million. Additional outcomes and insights include:

  • The tournament created $25.6 million in direct visitor spending in the region, with expenditures on lodging, food and beverages producing an estimated $2.96 million in state and local sales tax revenue.
  • The tournament remained a consistent draw with close to 76,000 fans and visitors attending the games over a six-day period.
  • Over 81 percent of surveyed attendees said they were likely to visit Charlotte for a future leisure trip and would recommend visiting Charlotte to friends and relatives.
  • Of the ancillary official tournament events, the Toyota Fan Fest, Lowe’s Super Saturday and CIAA Career Expo at the Charlotte Convention Center, were among the top attended.
  • The CIAA community-focused events engaged the local community, drawing 200 entrepreneurs and business leaders to the Minority Business Symposium and more than 6,000 area high school and middle school students to the STEM Day initiatives. 
  • In a post-event survey, nearly 4 in 5 visitors were satisfied with their 2019 tournament experience, citing “an overall positive experience,” “socializing with friends,” and “Charlotte is a great location” as the top three attributes.

Impact of New York Life ACC Tournament

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) includes 15 colleges and universities, all of which participated in the five-day tournament that had a $35.6 million total economic impact on the Charlotte region. Additional outcomes and insights include:

  • Visitors contributed an estimated $19.2 million in direct spending to the local economy, generating $1.93 million in state and local tax revenue from sales of lodging, food and beverages.
  • More than 24,000 visitors came to Charlotte for the tournament, which produced approximately 30,000 hotel room nights.
  • Attendance totaled 100,750 over the six tournament sessions, with visitors accounting for more than three quarters of the total. 
  • 76% of attendees traveled greater than 50 miles to attend, 65% of fans traveled greater than 100 miles, and more than 24% traveled farther than 500 miles.
  • The top originating out-of-town metropolitan areas of visitors were Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, New York, Greenville-Spartanburg, Chicago, Charlottesville (VA), Boston and Syracuse.
  • Hotel demand grew by 6.1% and Uptown ADR grew by 11.2% over previous year’s figures, specifically when comparing to the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds.
  • The tournament was broadcast nationally, with the championship game drawing 4.1 million television viewers.

The CRVA has long touted the benefits associated with recruiting and hosting strategic events: the creation of significant economic impact that can be reinvested back into the community to enhance quality of life for Charlotte residents and visitors; support of valuable hospitality sector employment that represents one in nine jobs in the Charlotte region; and extensive national and international media exposure that the city could never afford to generate through traditional paid marketing avenues.

Tourism is the region’s fourth largest industry behind healthcare, government and professional services, and accounts for 140,800 jobs. The tourism tax revenues produced in Charlotte translate to $360 in tax savings annually for each Mecklenburg County resident. The tax revenue impact from the visitor economy has also helped the city fund and develop some of Charlotte’s most defining assets – BB&T Ballpark, the renovations at Bank of America Stadium, The Westin Charlotte, Charlotte Convention Center, Levine Center for the Arts, NASCAR Hall of Fame and others.


Methodology
The economic impact studies use sales and tax revenue data, employment figures and other industry and economic data to determine the overall impact of visitor spending during strategic events in Charlotte.

About the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA) works to deliver experiences that uniquely enrich the lives of our visitors and residents. Through leadership in destination development, marketing and venue management expertise, the CRVA leads efforts to maximize the region’s economic potential through visitor spending, creating jobs and opportunities for the community. Brands supported by the CRVA include the Charlotte Convention Center, Spectrum Center, Bojangles’ Coliseum, Ovens Auditorium, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte Regional Film Commission and Visit Charlotte in conjunction with the region’s destination marketing brand. For more information, visit charlottesgotalot.com.

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